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Mother pushes for changes after husband dies in avalanche

It's been six weeks since Summer Andersen received the worst phone call of her life.It came a few hours after ...

Posted: Feb. 22, 2018 9:47 PM
Updated: Feb. 22, 2018 9:47 PM

It's been six weeks since Summer Andersen received the worst phone call of her life.

It came a few hours after her husband of eight years, Adam Andersen, left with some friends to snowmobile in the Mt. Jefferson area of Island Park.

"Adam had work wrapped up for the day and I said, 'Are you sure you want to go? It's so late in the day,' and he said, 'Yeah, we'll be fine.' Then he walked out the door," Summer recalls. "It was just such an ordinary day."

Adam was an experienced rider and loved being outdoors. Being on a snowmobile was nothing new and when his group arrived at the trail, he called Summer to let her know.

He and his friends then left on their machines for a fun afternoon.

"A little while later, I saw (a news story from) East Idaho News on Facebook that said that there was a snowmobiler in an avalanche," Summer says. "I knew that it was a popular spot for him and his friends to go (so) I kept calling and calling and calling. I wasn't getting any answers and finally I called the Fremont Country Sheriff's Office. While I was on hold, his best friend called me and said it was Adam."

She continues, "In my heart, I instantly knew he was gone. I just could feel it and it was awful. I just knew my husband was gone and it was devastating."

Since that heartbreaking day, Summer has been determined to turn her tragedy into something good – especially since two other men have died in avalanches in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming since Adam passed away Jan. 10.

"There are eight kids in Idaho falls with no dad today because of this," Summer tells EastIdahoNews.com. "The love of my life is gone at 36 years old and I can not sit back and let this happen anymore. We've got to do something to make sure all of these riders are coming home."

The young mother of 6-year-old Dash, 3-year-old Atlas and 3-month-old Lake is now partnering with Action Motor Sports to raise awareness of avalanche dangers.

On Saturday, Feb. 24, a free educational meeting will be held at Action Motor Sports in Idaho Falls with experts speaking on avalanches. There will be a raffle with all proceeds being used to purchase avalanche safety kits that snowmobilers in Island Park can use for free while riding.

"I get why a lot of people don't buy them because they don't ride 10-20 times a year but this will allow them to have access to the same safety products that we all want to use," Steve Dutcher of Action Motor Sports tells EastIdahoNews.com. "We want every rider coming home safe. We want people to be prepared. We want them to be educated so they know what resources are available."

Summer also wants avalanche danger signs posted along highways – similar to those used during wildfire season in the summer.

"We need to educate people on how to read snow conditions properly," Summer says. "People need to be more aware on how to read it so when they go they're safe."

Summer says this is just the beginning. She and Action Motor Sports plan to hold avalanche awareness meetings every year.

Although she and her kids are determined "not to live a sad life," she hopes her efforts will help other families as she remembers her sweetheart.

"Adam was incredible. He was vivacious and fun and incredible and he was a wonderful husband," Summer says. "He honestly was the best father ever and in honor of him, I want to make sure all these riders are coming home because I wish he was home. I do. I would give about anything to bring him home."

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