The bodies of two well-known local skiers who died in a back country avalanche in the mountains of Grand Teton National park have been recovered by a search and rescue team, a park spokeswoman said on Thursday. Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer were recovered today after a large slide occured on Ranger Peak near Jackson Hole. Both men were expert back country skiers who lived in Jackson, Wyoming. The two were incredibly well-known in the Jackson area.
According to a release from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Onufer began working at the ski area in ’93 and most recently worked as the manager of the tram maintenance department and was an integral figure in the development and installation of the new tram, which opened in December ’08. ”A class act and a quiet leader, Chris was humble and let his work and achievements speak for themselves, he will be missed by all at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and in the greater Jackson Hole and Teton Valley Communities,” a press release stated.
Steve Romeo, an avid ski mountaineer and randonee racer ran a popular backcountry skiing blog, TetonAT.com. ”Mainly, I remember ‘Randomeo’s’ enthusiasm for all things skiing, like he just ate it up in big giant swallows,” wrote fellow ski blogger Lou Dawson about friend and colleague Romeo on Wildsnow.com. “The alpinism, the piste, blogging — even some healthy competition amongst us bloggers. It was all something to smile about.”
A search began for the two at dawn on Thursday after their vehicle was found on Wednesday night in a trailhead parking lot in Grand Teton National Park. According to the Bridger-Teton National Forest avalanche center, the avalanche danger was listed as moderate on Wednesday afternoon. This tragedy brings the avalanche fatality number for the U.S. to 27 for this season.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chris and Steve’s family and friends.