Missing snowmobiler found dead after avalanche

An online fundraiser has been set up for 36-year-old Adam Andersen, right, pictured here with his wife Summer and two of their three children. youcaring.com

The body of an Idaho Falls man was discovered Thursday morning after he was reported missing following an avalanche near Mount Jefferson in the Centennial Mountains of Island Park.

Adam Wayne Andersen, 36, was snowmobiling with friends Wednesday when he was caught in the avalanche. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 5 p.m., but had to call the search off due to weather conditions and nightfall.

A rescue dog from Teton County Search and Rescue found Andersen’s body sometime around 10 a.m. Thursday. A Sheriff’s Office news release said several organizations volunteered to help with the search, but the number of search parties was kept at a minimum to avoid triggering another avalanche.

Andersen is survived by his wife, Summer Andersen, and their three children. A YouCaring page has been set up to help the family cover the funeral expenses.

The last death caused by an avalanche in Fremont County was in 2009, and also involved a group riding snowmobiles in the area.

Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries said avalanches are common, and snowmobiling around the mountain involves great risk.

“The people who go up there are extreme riders,” Humphries said. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”

Humphries said it was fortunate the dog located Andersen’s body quickly before more snowfall added to the risk faced by search parties. The sheriff warned snowmobilers and others to be aware of the threat posed by avalanches.

“I would encourage people to be very cautious in the backcountry this time of year,” Humphries said.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.