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Remembering the deadly Silver Mountain avalanche one year later

An avalanche swept down a black diamond run at Silver Mountain Resort on Jan. 7, 2020, leaving three people dead and four others injured.

KELLOGG, Idaho — One year ago, tragedy struck at Silver Mountain Resort near Kellogg, Idaho, when an avalanche left three people dead and four others injured. 

The avalanche happened on an open black diamond run that was inbounds off of Wardner Peak on Jan. 7, 2020. The resort will shut down for a moment of silence at 11:04 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. 

Two of the three victims, who lived in Spokane County, were found on Jan. 7. Searchers recovered the body of a third two days later. 

KREM is providing a detailed timeline of what happened on Jan. 7, 2020 and the days afterward, along with remembering avalanche victims. 

Timeline of what happened

Tuesday, Jan. 7

The avalanche swept down the 16-to-1 run at the Wardner Peak ski area at 11:04 a.m. Silver Mountain Ski Patrol responded immediately and began to search for guests.

The area had previously been closed due to a lack of snow. Sixteen inches of snow then fell in the 24 hours before the avalanche and avalanche control work was done in the morning before the mountain opened.

The ski area was open and inbounds.

Wednesday, Jan. 8

Silver Mountain posted on Facebook that they received a call from a concerned family member about a skier that they have been unable to contact. The person was skiing during the time of the avalanche on Tuesday.

Silver Mountain said the ski area would be closed as they searched for the missing person. 

The search for the missing skier was suspended at 11 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 9

The search for the missing skier was restarted in the morning. 

At about 12:45 p.m., a rescue helicopter found a person buried in the snow after a two-day search. Crews confirmed that the person recovered was the missing person, bringing the death toll to three.

Crews called off future searches, as they believed all people were accounted for. 

The Shoshone County Sheriff's Office also identified the two men who died as 58-year-old Carl William Dick Humphreys of Liberty Lake and 46-year-old Scott Michael Parsons of Spokane Valley.

Friday, Jan. 10

Silver Mountain reopened following two-day closure.

RELATED: Timeline: What we know about the deadly Silver Mountain avalanche

RELATED: 3 dead, 4 injured in Silver Mountain avalanche: What we know

Remembering the victims

Carl Humphreys

Family members remembered 58-year-old Humphreys of Liberty Lake as an avid skier who had been on Wardner Peak many times before.

"Skiing down that exact run is something he did a thousand times and he loved every minute of it,” his stepson, Darrick Hayman, said. 

Credit: KREM

Humphreys was also a fan of water skiing, surfing, wake boarding and river rafting, Hayman said. 

Hayman also expressed gratitude for his stepfather's character and love for others. When his wife developed dementia three years before the avalanche, Humphreys stood by her side.

"His dedication to my mother is something that I will always cherish, he did a job that nobody else could do and he 100% stepped up to the plate and took care of my mom and 100% did the right thing and I'll always be grateful for that,” Hayman said.

Carl Humphreys left behind his wife, stepson, and two grandchildren.

RELATED: Family remembers Silver Mountain avalanche victim Carl Humphreys

Scott Parsons

The second person who died in the avalanche was 48-year-old Scott Parsons. KREM does not have a photo of him.

Parsons was a longtime friend of Humphreys.

Molly Elisabeth Hubbard 

The rescue crew that located Molly Elisabeth Hubbard, the third victim killed in the Silver Mountain avalanche, said she was buried under approximately 20 feet of snow. 

Hubbard, a 33-year-old from Minneapolis, was recovered by search crews on Thursday. 

Credit: Oregon Health and Sciences University
Dr. Molly Hubbard, third person killed in Silver Mountain avalanche

Nathan Selden, the university's Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, released a statement about her passing: 

“Molly Hubbard was a superlative physician and surgeon with exceptional judgment, technical skills and deep compassion for her patients and colleagues. She was also an extraordinary human being who was loved and valued by all who knew her. Molly’s loss is unfathomable to her friends, her family, our community at OHSU, and to myself as her mentor. We will do our best to honor her extraordinary character," the statement reads.

RELATED: Third person killed in Silver Mountain avalanche was buried under 20 feet of snow

Skier may have triggered avalanche

The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center released a preliminary report one week after the deadly avalanche occurred that pointed to a possible cause. 

According to the preliminary report, a skier unintentionally triggered the avalanche. It said five skiers were buried under the snow and two others were partially buried. 

The avalanche ran 900 feet downhill and 450 feet vertically, according to the report.

RELATED: Preliminary report: Skier unintentionally triggered deadly Silver Mountain avalanche

Silver Mt. makes changes

Silver Mountain Ski Resort made changes to its operations following the deadly avalanche. 

One of those changes includes a new weather center on top of Wardner Peak that will give the resort hourly readings on snowfall, water content and wind. 

Avalanche transceiver checkers have also been installed on top of Chair 2 and Chair 4. Chair 4 is the lift that takes skiers up to the 16-to-1 run. Transceivers emit a radio signal that makes it possible for rescuers to detect people trapped under the snow. 

The resort is also expanding its avalanche dog program with a new addition: Roger, the black lab puppy, named after a longtime member of the ski patrol. Roger will help rescuers search for survivors in the event of another avalanche. 

RELATED: Silver Mountain makes changes to its operations after deadly avalanche

KREM staff members contributed to this reporting. 

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