By: randosteve|Posted on: November 14, 2011|Posted in: People | 32 comments

There is some really sad news coming out of Utah last night and this morning, and it is very early in the season to be reporting on such a horrible event.  Professional skier, Jamie Pierre, was killed in an avalanche while skiing in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday. Jamie was known as a religious person and for once holding the record for the biggest cliff drop on skis. He will be dearly missed by the entire skiing community.

With a full moon over the weekend and questionable early season avalanche conditions, the incident occurred at approximately 2:30pm while descending the South Chute in the Gad Valley near Alta and Snowbird Ski Resorts, which are currently not open for the ski season yet. Known for his skiing, Jamie was snowboarding at the time and triggered a 14-20” soft slab immediately upon entering a northwest facing slope that carried him hundreds of feet over steep, rocky terrain. Though neither Jamie nor his partner were carrying avalanche rescue equipment, it likely wouldn’t have made a difference, as Jamie was found only partially buried during rescue and most like died from trauma incurred during the slide. An initial accident report from the Utah Avalanche Center can be found here.

Jamie Pierre’s insane 255′ drop behind Grand Targhee.

In 2007, Jamie Pierre set the world record for the largest cliff drop on skis when he launched off a 255’ rock face located behind the Grand Targhee Ski Resort. Jamie praised God and Jesus prior to his jump, stating “Jesus Christ died on the cross for you.” Jamie had to be dug out and “rescued” out of his bomb-hole landing and his feat sparked a debate as to what qualifies as a legitimate jump, since many skiers don’t immediately ski away after jumping off of cliffs that big. Jamie’s record was surpassed a year later when Fred Syversen accidentally skied off a 351’ foot cliff…and somehow survived.

In my opinion (and many others) this is one of the sickest POV edits ever.

Though Jamie continued to ski for photographers and movie companies, Jamie claimed to be slowing down and trying to take less risks due to being a new father and having a family.  Most recently, Jamie’s video clip (seen above) has proven to be an outrageous and extremely popular example of POV filming and editing, and has nearly all skiers that use POV cameras trying to mimic his backpack style camera mount.  Rest in peace Jamie…and may all your landings be soft in heaven.

Skiers and snowboarders are reminded that an early and thin snowpack can often be more dangerous  than a deep snow pack, due to the large temperature gradient between the ground and the snow surface, which facilitates the formation of depth hoar.  Though the BTNF Avy Forecast is only predicting “moderate” danger for the Teton region, I saw many shooting cracks and triggered a few slabs while skiing on Teton Pass and Targhee over the weekend.  I can only imagine with the recent high winds, the avy danger is much larger at higher elevations.  Everyone, please be careful out there.  –Steve