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Natural Resources & Energy

More Snowmobilers In Wyoming Killed In Avalanches Than Skiers

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A recent analysis by WyoFile found that snowmobilers have topped backcountry skiers in avalanche fatalities throughout the state's history.

Just this year, four snowmobilers died in avalanches in the Bridger-Teton region. Throughout Wyoming history, 32 snowmobilers have died in avalanches compared to 26 backcountry skiers, according to the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center.

Bob Comey, the director of the center, said there has been a higher number of snowmobilers in the recent years and gear is advancing.

"The technology has gotten better, in all these different groups in enabling people with not as much experience or maybe not as good skills to get into avalanche terrain," he said.

Snowmobiles allow riders to cover much more terrain with unstable conditions versus skiers.

"They can travel and can pass many different avalanche paths, they can go to different ranges, be in different climate zones with different avalanche conditions and different snow stability in [a] very short time over long distances," Comey said.

The center is working with Wyoming State Trails and the Wyoming State Avalanche Association to provide avalanche education.

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