A male skier has died, and two others were rescued after they were caught in an avalanche while backcountry skiing near the Montana border in Idaho. Authorities received a GPS alert about the avalanche on Thursday afternoon and contacted the two surviving men using their GPS devices.
After rescuing them and taking one to the hospital for a broken arm, authorities searched the area Friday and located the deceased skier's body.
The avalanche occurred southwest of Lookout Peak ski area, over 90 miles from Missoula, Montana, in an area that has recently faced high avalanche danger from snowfall and winds creating unstable slope conditions.
The rescued skiers said they believed their partner did not survive when caught in the sliding snow. Personnel from several regional sheriff's offices, the Air Force, and emergency crews conducted the search and rescue operations in below-zero temperatures before finding the deceased man's body the next day.
The three men were backcountry skiing in the mountainous region of northern Idaho, near the border with Montana. They were several miles southwest of the Lookout Peak ski resort and over 90 miles away from the city of Missoula, Montana. The area had been facing high avalanche warnings over the previous few days due to heavy snowfall and strong winds that were creating unstable conditions.
When the avalanche struck around 3 pm on Thursday, it caught all three skiers in the sliding snow. Two of the men activated a GPS alert device they were carrying to notify authorities, who then established communication with them.
After search and rescue personnel located the pair, they provided medical assistance and transported one of the men to the hospital for treatment of a broken arm.
The two survivors informed authorities that they did not believe their skiing companion had survived being swept away by the avalanche. An initial search of the area that evening did not locate his body. After postponing efforts overnight, officials resumed searching on Friday afternoon and discovered the deceased skier's location.
Multiple local agencies aided in the search and rescue attempts in the dangerous wintery conditions, including sheriff's offices from three different Idaho counties, the US Air Force, and regional emergency crews. The operations took place in below-zero temperatures before the victim's body could finally be retrieved the next day.