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Tragedy struck yesterday for the Jackson Hole community when 31-year-old snowboarder Mike McKelvey was killed in an avalanche in the nearby Togwotee Pass area. McKelvey, a well-respected snowboarder who worked on the Natural Selection crew with Travis Rice, was with a group of friends and had built a jump with the landing in a steep ravine. According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, McKelvey apparently landed and an avalanche with a five-foot crown broke loose and buried McKelvey in the ravine, or terrain trap as backcountry users would call it.
Our team had a heavy rescue yesterday trying to save a snowboarder who’d been buried by an avalanche. Sending our sincere condolences to his family and friends. https://t.co/2VA8qfmdd3
— TCSAR (@TetonCountySAR) February 19, 2021
McKelvey was wearing an avalanche beacon that was turned on and his friends were able to find him buried beneath 10-12 feet of snow according to the JHNG report, a miraculous effort. He had no pulse but was reportedly revived with a defibrillator. Teton County Search and Rescue was randomly in the area training and was able to respond immediately. Unfortunately, McKelvey didn’t survive despite rescue efforts and being transported to the Eastern Idaho Medical Center.
McKelvey was a gifted human and a good friend to the snowboarding community that mourned his tragic loss yesterday around Jackson Hole. Travis Rice posted about the incident. “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,” Rice wrote. “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.”
Our thoughts are with Mike McKelvey’s friends and family. RIP.