The Teton Counties of Idaho and Wyoming are teaming up for the safety effort. They hope it will calm nervy and irritable commuters bothered by skier triggered avalanches cascading across Highway 22.
Avalanche beacon pickup and drop-off locations at the base of the pass on both sides will now be required stopping points for drivers on days deemed “Considerable” avalanche risk or higher by the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center. On such days, drivers will be required by county law in both states to display avalanche beacons on their dash boards. Additionally, the community organization, Alliance of Teton Backcountry Shredders, has started a “Know Before You Go to Work” campaign to help educate commuters about the risks of traveling the pass.
The issue pits local leisurists against Jackson Hole’s work force who, for reasons unknown to this Journalist, have decided to live a state and a dangerous mountain pass away from their employers. Leisurists, represented by the Alliance of Teton Backcountry Shredders, and their new, “Know Before You Go to Work” campaign claim that commuters simply need more education.
Says ATBS spokesperson Eli Applegate, “The backcountry ski community is working hard to educate itself, and to resist the urge to ski public lands with avalanche paths that run directly through the highway when possible. But, it’s a goal that could take years, even decades to fully realize. The commuters need to meet us in the middle and start behaving with the same level of respect for the mountains as backcountry users. We are doing what we can. These commuters need to do their part too. Wearing beacons is a great start. But without knowledge and a probe and shovel, it’s really just that: a start .”