Bozeman Area Skiers Rescued After Avalanche Near Cooke City
Photo Credit: A. Mallet
According the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, on January 8, 2021 a group of six skiers triggered an avalanche on The Fin on Republic Mountain outside of Cooke City, Montana.
Three of the skiers were caught and partially buried in the avalanche. One skier that was partially buried was able to free himself after he deployed his airbag. After freeing himself, he began a beacon search which led him to another skier that was buried head down with his airway obstructed. The skier was not breathing and unconscious. After resuscitation efforts, the skier began breathing and regained consciousness. He sustained injuries, but later made it out under his own power.
A third skier was partially buried higher in the path, sustained serious injuries to his ribs and lungs and was evacuated by helicopter. All of the skiers involved were carrying rescue gear and avalanche beacons.
According to Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Director, Doug Chabot, the three skiers that were caught in the avalanche are reportedly from the Bozeman area.
Park County Search and Rescue and Beartooth Powder Guides (members of SAR) snowmobiled and skied to the scene. They carried equipment to stay overnight if a helicopter evacuation was not possible. Due to this very complex terrain a helicopter was essential to evacuate the seriously injured skier. A helicopter from Teton County Search and rescue (Jackson, WY) long-lined the injured skier to a waiting Life Flight for transport to a hospital.
Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Director, Doug Chabot, says that avalanche danger can change rapidly. Even a small storm with as little as six inches of snow can have an impact on avalanche danger. Before you head out, make sure to get the latest updates on avalanche danger at mtavalanche.com.