A recent rescue of six Minnesota snowmobilers in Teton County, after the men spent the night in the area of Togwotee pass, serves as a reminder for outdoors safety in winter weather.

Teton County Undersheriff Bob Gilliam says that the six men were reported missing after failing to return their rented snow machines.  "They got into an area called Tripod Peak," he says.  "They got down below the peak, into, what we would call, a black hole area."

Gilliam goes on to say that the six men's snow machines all managed to get stuck in the area within an hour.  Due, at least, in part to heavy snows.

The snowmobilers stayed the night there, managing to light a fire and stay warm, they were found by rescuers the next day and escorted out of the area. No injuries were reported in the incident.

"The did the right thing by staying put," Gilliam explains.  "It was very, very deep snow in the area and it had soften quite a bit, so I think they would have had a difficult time walking out."

The Teton County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue released a list of safety pointers following last week's rescue.

  • Make a plan before you head out
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you intend to return
  • Read the daily avalanche bulletin
  • Carry necessary safety and emergency equipment
  • Use good judgment
Further, the TCSOSAR recommends skiers, snowmobilers, and climbers to take an avalanche safety class and a wilderness first aid class.
Undersheriff Gilliam also says that people should pack for emergencies; including tents, extra food, warm clothing, shovels and avalanche beacons.
The TCSOSAR reminds that avalanche forecast, in Teton County, for the upcoming weekend, is expected to “remain heightened” as another storm system moves through the region.