‘I miss Adam so much it’s painful.’ Young mother who lost husband in avalanche installs warning signs in his memory
ISLAND PARK — “Nine months ago my husband rode up this trail and would not come back alive.”
Those are the words Summer Andersen wrote on her Facebook page late Friday night. She had spent the day in Island Park installing avalanche warning signs in the very place her husband died earlier this year.
“Today I stood there and couldn’t help but ask, ‘Why?’ I miss my best friend and partner. I miss the father of my beautiful children. I miss Adam so much it is painful,” Andersen said.
Adam, 36, was snowmobiling with friends on Jan. 10 when he became caught in an avalanche in the Mt. Jefferson area of Island Park. His body was recovered the next morning and his untimely death left 6-year-old Dash, 3-year-old Atlas and 3-month-old Lake without a father.
He was one of three people killed in avalanches in Idaho during the 2017-2018 winter season. During the same time period, 25 avalanche related fatalities were reported nationwide.
Several days after Adam’s death, Andersen felt compelled to do something to help other families from dealing with the raw pain she was experiencing. She created the nonprofit Adam Andersen Avalanche Project and raised money to install avalanche warning signs in Island Park.
“With my grief, focusing on this has been a good outlet for me,” Andersen told EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s almost therapeutic for me to get lost in this. I think about what happened, and it seems so senseless.”
With the help of a fundraiser at Action Motor Sports and other donations, Andersen raised enough money to cover five warning signs. She and workers with the U.S. Forest Service installed the signs at five different trailheads.
Andersen is using other money she’s raised to pay for five avalanche bags consisting of safety equipment that snowmobilers, skiers and others can use for free while exploring Island Park. Free awareness courses are also planned to educate people on the dangers of avalanches.
The Andersens were living in Ammon when Adam died, but Summer has since moved to Boise to be closer to family. Each year, she plans to put signs in areas of across the state, like the Palisades, where avalanche dangers could be high.
“All I can do is hope and pray that another person will pause at these signs and see ‘In memory of Adam Andersen’ and take extra caution that day,” she said.
Hear more from Summer Andersen and about her mission on East Idaho Newsmakers this coming Sunday on EastIdahoNews.com.