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Woman turns tragedy into change for avalanche safety

One woman is taking a tragedy and using it to make a difference in the motor sports community.

Summer Andersen lost her husband, Adam, in an avalanche on Jan. 10 near Island Park. Since then, she has been trying to raise awareness about avalanche safety.

“That kind of just spurred me into wanting to do more, raise awareness and make sure everyone has the right gear, everyone has access to the gear, which is what I’ve been doing,” said Andersen.

Andersen was able to create a nonprofit called the Adam Andersen Avalanche Project. The project is to help increase awareness and knowledge of avalanches. People are also able to help donate to raise money to buy avalanche kits for free use.

“It was just a thought that came to me,” Andersen said. “Because my husband was riding without the gear and without the proper knowledge for what the forecast was for the avalanche danger that day.”

With the help of family, friends and the team at Action Motor Sports in Idaho Falls, Andersen has been able to purchase five avalanche bags for people to use and put up five warning signs around the Island Park area.

“It really struck close to home, and so we really just responded to Summer. She jumped at the idea of spreading awareness and raising money to give these kits out to people so that riders would come home safe every night,” said Steve Dutcher, a controller at Action Motor Sports.

Originally the focus of this project was the Island Park area, but when her husband passed, Andersen and her family moved to Boise. She said she has seen the support she has gotten around the region, and it makes her think she can increase awareness all over Idaho.

“It’s been really fulfilling for me, and it’s helped me work through my grief, trying to prevent it from happening to someone else,” said Andersen. “This community took care of me and my children at the worst possible moment. They all rallied together and took care of us. I just hope what I’m doing can give back just a little bit.”

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