Glacier National Park News

Jan 9, 2013 12:47 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center

Officials: Skiers triggered Glacier NP avalanche

WEST GLACIER - A pair of skiers triggered an avalanche on Elk Mountain in Glacier National Park on Tuesday afternoon, according to park officials.

Park dispatch received a call at about 4:15 p.m., indicating that two skiers were involved in an avalanche and one skier was injured.

Park rangers and local emergency personnel responded to the incident, with park spokesperson Denise Germann saying the skiers were found by rangers at about 6:30 p.m., and were taken to a nearby trailhead.

The injured skier was taken to an area hospital by Glacier County EMS, while the other skier was released at the scene.

Germann says in a news release that the skiers, a 34-year-old male and a 35-year-old male are both from the local area and were skiing a ridge of Elk Mountain, just west of Marias Pass, when one of the skiers fell and triggered an avalanche.

The skier was carried with the slide and partially buried while the other skier was skiing below when the avalanche occurred and was able to escape from the avalanche slide path, and then help rescue his companion. The skier that was partially buried sustained significant injuries, according to Germann.

Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, the Glacier County Sheriff's Office, the Flathead County Sheriff's Office, Flathead County Search and Rescue and North Valley Search and Rescue, all helped park rangers rescue the skiers

Germann pointed out the "all backcountry recreationists are highly encouraged to be prepared for winter conditions, including awareness and understanding of avalanche terrain, mountain weather, snowpack conditions, current avalanche advisories, as well as being prepared with appropriate equipment such as beacons, probes, poles and shovels."

The names of the skiers involved in the avalanche have not been released.

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