Jackson Hole Snowboarder Dead After Backcountry Jump Landing Slid Into Terrain Trap

Jackson Hole Snowboarder Dead After Backcountry Jump Landing Slid Into Terrain Trap


Jackson Hole Snowboarder Dead After Backcountry Jump Landing Slid Into Terrain Trap


Tragic news out of Teton County where local snowboarder Mike McKelvey died in an avalanche on Togwotee Pass. Buckrail reports the Teton County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call around noon on Thursday, February 18, 2021 from an individual who reported an avalanche burial on Togwotee Mountain, specifically near Two Ocean Mountain and Wind River Lake.

The victim was identified as 31-year-old Michael McKelvey who was snowboarding in the area with a group of friends. After hitting a jump and descending onto a northeast-facing slope, the snow fractured causing an avalanche that buried McKelvey.

He was quickly located in the avalanche debris by his avalanche beacon and by utilizing an avalanche probe but was buried under 10 to 12 feet of snow and was unresponsive when he was recovered. Life saving measures were initially performed by members of McKelvey’s party and later by personnel from Teton County Search and Rescue and Grand Teton National Park. McKelvey was then transported by ambulance to Jackson Hole Airport and flown to Idaho Falls where he passed away.

Mike McKelvey was a good friend of Travis Rice and was an integral part of the success of the recent Natural Selection event held at Jackson where he built the vast majority of the features. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. This is from Travis:

Lost an incredible human today… Mike McKelvey, a youthful spirit and old soul, left a lasting impression on most everyone who spent any time with him. Such a talented and passionate person who lived life to the fullest! We were lucky to have him on our Natural Selection team as his stoke helped build a vast majority of the venue over the past several years! A problem solver, creative thinker and pro level ripper. Snowboarding was a huge part of his life and he embodied what it really means to be a full spectrum rider.

From what I know, a backcountry jump landing slid on him and he was taken into a terrain trap. He was just buried too deep to survive it.
Much love to his girlfriend, friends and family. So tragic.

Looking out over the valley, content in the hard work he really enjoyed, taking in the big picture and sharing some knowledge and insights. This is how I remember him. Feeling proud about the work he did and the level of detail that he thought mattered…
Which it does… @michaelthenomad

Be careful out there…

Photo: Teton County Search and Rescue


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