Her young husband died in an avalanche. Now she’s installing signs to help prevent other tragedies.
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IDAHO FALLS — Summer Andersen says no other family should have to experience what she and her three young children have been through.
Summer’s husband, Adam, was snowmobiling with friends in Island Park on Jan. 10 when he became caught in an avalanche and died. He was 36 years old, and his untimely death left 6-year-old Dash, 3-year-old Atlas and 3-month-old Lake without a father.
As Summer mourned the loss of her best friend, she decided to do all she could to turn her tragedy into something good – especially since two other men died in avalanches in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming within weeks of Adam’s death.
“There are eight kids in Idaho falls with no dad today because of this,” Summer told EastIdahoNews.com in February. “The love of my life is gone at 36 years old, and I cannot sit back and let this happen anymore. We’ve got to do something to make sure all of these riders are coming home.”
That “something” was the creation of the nonprofit Adam Andersen Avalanche Project. It includes a fundraising partnership with Action Motor Sports to raise awareness of avalanche dangers.
The money raised so far is paying for five avalanche warning signs that will be installed at trailheads in Island Park this week.
“With my grief, focusing on this has been a good outlet for me,” Summer says. “It’s almost therapeutic for me to get lost in this. I think about what happened, and it seems so senseless.”
Each sign was $800 and SignPro in Idaho Falls covered 40 percent of the costs, according to Summer. Other money raised will be used to pay for five avalanche bags consisting of safety equipment that snowmobilers, skiers and others can use for free while exploring Island Park. (Click here to see an avalanche bag in action.)
On Friday, Summer will meet up with U.S. Forest Service representatives to install the signs at different locations. Each year, she plans to put signs in other areas of Idaho, like the Palisades, where avalanche dangers could be high.
“We also want to arrange more awareness courses throughout the year so people are staying up on it,” Summer says. “Our next event will be at Action Motor Sports on Oct. 27. People can come, be educated and help support the cause.”
The Andersens were living in Ammon when Adam died, but Summer has since moved to Boise to be closer to family. She still has strong ties to eastern Idaho and is determined not to let her husband’s death be in vain.
“My little boy is getting ready to celebrate his seventh birthday without his dad,” she says. “He’s so sad his dad is not going to be here for his birthday. I don’t want this to happen to anybody else. This can be prevented. Hopefully, we can keep this from happening to other families.”