Skier dies in deadly avalanche that he caused

ANTHONY LAKES, OR – Avalanche forecaster Nick Burks, 37, tragically lost his life last week in a snowslide he triggered while skiing in eastern Oregon, officials confirmed. Both Burks and his friend, William Sloop, also 37, were experienced skiers equipped with avalanche airbags and beacons. They were backcountry skiing on Gunsight Mountain near the Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort when the incident unfolded.

After safely descending the mountain, Sloop saw the avalanche overcome Burks. Using his transceiver, Sloop was able to quickly locate Burks. The Baker County Sheriff’s Office confirmed this chain of events.

Individuals at the ski lodge witnessed the avalanche and promptly notified first responders. When rescue crews arrived, bystanders were attempting CPR on Burks. Their life-saving efforts proved unsuccessful. Sloop survived the incident unharmed.

The Northwest Avalanche Center expressed its condolences via Facebook, noting Burks’ long-standing association with the professional avalanche community. Burks previously served as an avalanche forecaster for the Wallowa Avalanche Center in northeastern Oregon and was a part of the snow safety team at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski and Summer Resort, located southeast of Portland.

Avalanche forecasters focus on monitoring mountain snow conditions and weather patterns to anticipate avalanche risks. However, the job has become increasingly challenging due to the effects of climate change causing extreme weather.

The Wallowa Avalanche Center extended its condolences to those affected by the loss of Burks, acknowledging in a statement the small size and tight-knit nature of the backcountry community. The center stated it would conduct an in-depth investigation and release a subsequent report.

This year, avalanches have claimed eleven lives in the U.S., as reported by In a similar incident last month, an avalanche in eastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains resulted in the deaths of two backcountry skiers, leaving two others seriously injured in a group of eight.