More Details Released on Southwest Montana Avalanche Fatality
More details were released by the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center about the Tuesday avalanche that claimed the life of a Big Sky man.
The following is the report released by the GNFAC on Thursday morning:
On Tuesday, January 19th, two on-duty Yellowstone Club (YC) Ski Patrollers were helping two MSU graduate students collect data for snow science research. They were on private land in an uncontrolled backcountry setting, when, skiing back in-bounds to the YC, one of the patrollers triggered an avalanche. He jumped off a cornice onto a steep (39-42 degrees) wind-loaded slope which avalanched on his second turn. The slide broke 2-4 feet deep, 300 feet wide and carried him through a terrain trap of thick trees. He was partially buried at the toe of the debris 300 vertical feet below. His partners got to him within three minutes, but the trauma was fatal. We are all deeply saddened by the death of a fellow snow professional. Our hearts are broken for his family and friends
The skier was identified as Darren Johnson, 34. Rescuers were on scene after the avalanche but were unable to revive Johnson, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department said in a release Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. The avalanche debris on the uphill sides of these trees gives an indication of the size of the slide as it strained through this terrain trap.