ELKO – One man was killed and another seriously injured Saturday morning in an avalanche in the Ruby Mountains.
Three young men from the Elko area were snowmobiling near Castle Lake high in the mountains above Lamoille Canyon when the avalanche occurred shortly before noon. Elko County Undersheriff Justin Ames said two of them were able to “roll out” away from its path. One of them was injured and one was able to call for help around 11:53 a.m.
A rescue crew from Ruby 360 Lodge helped bring the injured man to safety. He apparently suffered a broken leg and clavicle, and was flown to Salt Lake City for treatment, Ames said.
The sheriff’s office has not released the identities of those involved.
Deputies responded to the incident along with Elko County Fire District and Elko County Ambulance personnel, Elko County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue and Ruby 360 Lodge personnel. Ruby 360 is the base site for Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski.
Snow depths in the Ruby Mountains were around 3 feet, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The agency’s snow map listed 38 inches at the top of Lamoille Canyon, 39 inches at Smith Creek, and 43 inches at Green Mountain.
Snowmobilers park along Lamoille Canyon Road and then ride up the snowy portion to reach higher elevations. Several lakes are located above the canyon in the Ruby Mountain Wilderness Area that leads toward Harrison Pass, although snowmobiling is not allowed in the wilderness.
Avalanches are common in the Ruby Mountains but injuries are rare. In March 2018 a snowmobiler was injured between the beaver ponds and Road’s End after driving into a prior avalanche.
The last deadly avalanche involving a snowmobiler in recent memory was on Feb. 15, 1981. Leila Koncher, 20, of Salt Lake City was snowmobiling in a large group above Lamoille Lake when she was swept away by the snow. Her body was recovered from the lake four months later.
Joe Royer of Ruby 360 Lodge said he recalled another fatality in the late 1980s involving a skier in Thomas Canyon.
The U.S. Forest Service monitors avalanche danger in more populated areas but not in northeastern Nevada. Royer said conditions here are generally similar to Utah and Idaho.
“Just use common sense,” he said.
The Forest Service does post avalanche safety tips on its website. They advise outdoor recreationists to know the terrain and avoid dangerous conditions. Everyone is advised to carry an avalanche transceiver as well as probes, a shovel and survival gear.
Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski has conducted avalanche awareness classes in past years, in conjunction with Friends of the Ruby Mountains and Ruby Mountains Snowmobile Club.
Several snowmobilers, skiers and other recreationists have died in avalanches across the West this month following heavy snow. A snowmobiler in the Sawtooth Mountains of central Idaho died Friday after trigging an avalanche, according to the Associated Press.
Eleven people have died in avalanches in Colorado alone this season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. They included eight skiers, two snowmobilers and a snowboarder.
“The western United States is only halfway through its snowy season but has already matched the annual average for national avalanche fatalities,” reported The Washington Post.
According to a statement from the Northwest Avalanche Center, the United States experienced more recreational avalanche fatalities in the first week of this month than during any other period in the past 100 years.
Scary moment as snowmobiler caught in Italy avalanche:
ELKO – Jordanelle Third Mortgage LLC plans to develop Zephyr Heights Subdivision with 70 residential lots on 26.6 acres on the east side of Jennings Way, if Elko City Council approves a zoning change and tentative map for the project at its Tuesday meeting.
Elko Planning Commission recommended conditional approval to the council of the zoning change and tentative map for the subdivision north of the intersection with Puccinelli Parkway, with conditions that included renaming two of the proposed streets in the final map because they are too much like the names of current streets.
The street names on the preliminary map included Virginia Lane and Paradise Way, but there already are streets named Virginia Way and Paradise Drive, the city’s civil engineer, Bob Thibault, told the planning commission.
Thibault provided a copy of the new tentative map from the developers on Monday that shows the two names in question have been changed to Orovada Lane and Mesquite Way. The other two planned names remain the same – Incline Avenue and Tahoe Road.
Assistant City Manager Scott Wilkinson told the planning commission at its Feb. 2 meeting that the street-naming would need to be addressed “before the council can consider the preliminary plat.”
Modifications the planning commission required also include that there would be no direct access from homes to Jennings way. Rather, cars would need to go through the subdivision to get out.
Jordanelle Third Mortgage needs to modify lots 47 and 48 to allow for shorter-than-required lot widths and a modification of standards allowing for double frontage lots along East Jennings Way as part of the restriction, according to the proposal headed to the city council.
Rezoning for Zephyr Heights would be from R, which is single family and multiple family residential zoning, and R1 single family residential to only R, according to the agenda for the council meeting that includes a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on the zoning change.
Elko Development Manager Michele Rambo said at the Feb. 2 meeting that Zephyr Heights would comply with the city’s master plan after the zoning change.
She also said the subdivision would be built in four phases, with 2.8 units per acre.
City staff additionally found that when the subdivision is fully developed there would be an estimated 666 more trips onto Jennings Way, which does not require a traffic study.
The subdivision would receive water and sewer service from the city.
Elko City Council will meet at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in Ruby Mountain Room 3 at the Elko Conference Center, and the meeting also will be available online.
Elko Mayor Reece Keener welcomes Battle Born Youth Challenge Academy:
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak says shipments of 46,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine that were delayed because of weather have now started arriving in the state.
Sisolak made the announcement on Twitter Monday.
Candice McDaniel, the health bureau chief of Nevada’s Bureau of Child, Family and Community Wellness, said officials would be working overtime this week to administer the delayed Moderna doses and this week’s regularly scheduled shipment.
Officials in southern Nevada, which includes Las Vegas and three-quarters of the state’s population, rescheduled appointments for people waiting on a second dose of the Moderna vaccine for this week.
Vaccinations planned last week at the Elko Senior Center will instead take place this Saturday at the Elko Convention Center.
The governor revealed on Twitter that state officials had been considering an offer to use private airplanes to retrieve the doses, which were delayed amid winter storms across the U.S. last week. Sisolak says the state ultimately did not need to use the private aircraft.
State health officials reported 173 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths related to the disease Monday.
The state has seen 291,145 known cases of coronavirus and 4,882 deaths since the pandemic began.
Elko County has seen 4,515 confirmed cases and 51 deaths.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.