Authorities confirmed on Saturday that Victor resident and professional backcountry snowmobiler Rob Kincaid died after he was caught in an avalanche on Friday afternoon near Palisades Peak north of Palisades Reservoir.
The 46-year-old’s body was recovered by emergency responders on Saturday morning.
This was the second fatal avalanche to occur in the region within an approximately 48-hour span following a Wednesday afternoon avalanche near Teton Pass along the Idaho-Wyoming border that left snowboarder Trace Carrillo, 28, of Jackson, Wyoming, dead.
Kincaid was a professional hill climb competitor in the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hillclimb Association circuit and a professional backcountry rider for Team Arctic Cat. He garnered countless honors and awards during his career.
News of his death quickly ripped through the local community as friends and family expressed disbelief and grief on a variety of social media outlets.
“One of the most colorful and fun guys to be around, he was talented and committed to the sport of snowmobiling,” wrote friend and photographer Erik Fleischhacker of Swan Valley via Facebook on Saturday morning. “He could always put the sled where I needed it for the shot, and he’d even give me a ride when I needed it. I was fortunate enough to record the raw reaction he had when he won his first championship at Jackson Hole. What an awesome guy!”
Earlier this year, the Canadian-based magazine Snoriders wrote, “As he pursued his racing career on the RMSHA circuit, Kincaid was eventually spotted by someone of influence with Arctic Cat who realized he wasn’t racing to be a somebody, he was racing because he loved it. And after 18 years of racing and 20 years of riding, his love for snowmobiling has not waned. If anything his passion has been fueled even more by those who believe in him.”
“My wife Kimberly is my biggest supporter,” said Kincaid to Snoriders. “I am truly blessed to have a wife so understanding of my passion for riding.” ￼
According to the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, a report came in from a group of snowmobilers on Friday afternoon that they had been caught in an avalanche northeast of the Sheep Creek area near Palisades Peak.
Kincaid was part of the group of about 10 snowmobilers and after the avalanche struck he could not be located by the others, the Sheriff’s Office said.
It took one of the snowmobilers an hour to get to a location where there was cell phone service so the incident could be reported via a 911 call. The rest of the snowmobilers in Kincaid’s group as well as about six others who were nearby began searching for him. They found him over two hours later and tried unsuccessfully to revive him.
Kincaid’s body was removed from the scene on Saturday morning by the Air Idaho rescue helicopter.
The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center in Teton Village, Wyoming, reported the avalanche danger for the Palisades Peak area as moderate for Friday.
“Backcountry travelers could trigger slab avalanches in steep terrain,” the center stated. “On southerly aspects, solar radiation throughout the day may cause these wind slabs to become more sensitive to triggers.”
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office said Kincaid was wearing an avalanche beacon but for unknown reasons it was not activated when the avalanche struck.
The Sheriff’s Office expressed its condolences to Kincaid’s family and friends via a Saturday morning press release, adding some words of caution to those who enjoy winter recreation in the backcountry.
“Again we remind those who winter recreate to always be prepared for emergencies, be aware of current conditions before you go, and stay away from avalanche prone areas that are dangerous for riders and rescue personnel,” the Sheriff’s Office said.