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Jerome man killed in avalanche near Ketchum

Jerome man killed in avalanche near Ketchum

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The Blaine County Sheriff's Office reports a Jerome man was killed Wednesday in an avalanche north of Ketchum.

KETCHUM — A Jerome man who was snowmobiling about 20 miles from town was killed in an avalanche Wednesday afternoon, Blaine County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

After the slide, one of the riders began looking for the second rider.

Kirk Douglas Rongen, 50, was found with his transponder but he was unable to be revived, the statement said.

The avalanche was reported north of Ketchum near the Baker Creek area. Blaine County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Sun Valley Fire Department, Ketchum Fire Department, Ketchum Ambulance, Wood River Fire and Rescue and Sun Valley Heli-Ski were dispatched to the area.

One other person was riding in the area of the trailhead at the end of Baker Creek Road when the slide occurred, the statement said.

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center will investigate slide, but the sheriff’s office said initial reports indicate a slab avalanche failed on a wind-loaded south/southwestern slope near 9,000 feet. Avalanche conditions for this zone were rated as considerable on Wednesday. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center publishes daily forecasts at


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