Nineteen-year-old French professional snowboarder Tristan Picot died from injuries suffered in an avalanche in Jackson Hole Wyoming on Saturday. Tristan had been staying with Travis Rice and riding in Jackson for two days before the accident.
It was a normal day for the crew where Travis Rice forgets his snowboard boots, the rest of the crew catches the early tram at Jackson Hole Resort to shoot photos and film, and then they all go backcountry snowmobile riding in the afternoon.
The plan for the afternoon was to snowmobile into an area called Ski Lake on Teton Pass. The group included Bryan Iguchi, Travis Rice, and Kurt Wastell among others. It was on the second run on the ridge that the avalanche occurred. The Northeast facing forty degree chute broke out about a foot deep and one-hundred feet wide taking Tristan five-hundred feet through rocky terrain. He was not buried by the slide, but was unconscious when members of the group got to him moments later. The group performed rescue breathing with no success. It has been determined that Tristan died from a broken neck.
The rescue effort was complicated by another rescue involving a snowmobiler who had broken a femur in a separate avalanche in the same area earlier that day, and incoming bad weather, both of which caused a major delay in getting the helicopter to the scene.
The avalanche forecast was rated as considerable and all the members of the group had avalanche rescue gear. Current avalanche trends in the Tetons have been similar to the avalanche this group experienced, where the snowpack fails on the third, fourth or even twelfth rider on the slope, making things especially terrifying.
Tristan’s friends in Jackson Hole are very much in a state of shock and grief. Everyone’s deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.