Preliminary reports says skiers triggered the Silver Mountain avalanche

SHOSHONE Co., Wash. — The preliminary findings from an investigation into last week’s deadly avalanche at Silver Mountain have been released.

Three skiers were killed, five others were rescued from the snow.

While the investigation into the avalanche is just beginning, preliminary findings from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center determine it was a skier, or a group of skiers, which unintentionally caused the avalanche to fall.

READ: Silver Mtn. closed Wednesday following deadly avalanche

The skiers caught up in the slide were on the 16 to 1 run, an in-bounds area on Wardner Peak. There were no avalanche warnings covering the ski area at the time.

The area outlined in red below shows the approximate avalanche zone.

Wardner Peak avalanche

Photo from Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

According to the report, the side was 300 feet wide, 2-3 feet deep and traveled 900 feet down the mountain.

The investigation found the slide broke off in two places (see below).

Wardner Peak avalanche 2

Photo from Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Two skiers were partially buried by the avalanche, according to the report. Five were completely buried. Two of them were rescued, the other three were killed.

READ: Third victim in Silver Mtn. avalanche identified as 33-year-old Minnesota woman

The investigation is still ongoing.