A snowboarder has died in an avalanche while heading downhill a Wyoming mountain. Michael Kazanjy, 29, died Thursday in what is being reported as the first fatal avalanche of the season.
ABC News reported that Kazanjy was at Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with five friends when he headed down a hill and, “according to officials, set off the avalanche”. Bob Comey, director of the Bridger Tenton Avalanche Center, stated that “It was a big slide. It happened in a cliff area. It was a very steep slope.”
KTVU reported that one of the friends who was with him at the time had tried to save his life, and confirmed that they were in a high risk area. The area where Kazanjy was skiing at was technically outside of the resort boundary, making the risks even higher.
Comey stated that “It’s kind of like Russian roulette when you get on this slope. If six people do it and no one dies, then 50 people do it and no one dies, people get kind of complacent.” The family released a statement that stated how wonderful of a man Kazanjy was, and how grateful they were to have at least spent Christmas with him before his passing.
“Mike lived life with a full heart for those around him, and they for him. He loved his family, his Cal Bears, his skiing buddies and San Francisco. My parents were lucky enough to spend this Christmas with Mike in Jackson this past week, and are grateful for it. This tragic loss at a time of year when families draw close to each other is a reminder to cherish the time we have with our loved ones. Reach out to yours and tell them you love them.”
ABC News stated that, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in Boulder, on average, 28 people die every year in avalanches.
[Image via bikingspots]