KALISPELL - Friday marked day seven of the search for a 62-year-old backcountry skier, Jonathan Torgerson, who disappeared Saturday near Big Mountain
Snowy weather conditions grounded Two Bear Air Rescue but search operations continued on the ground, and search operations aren't slowing down heading into the weekend.
"We have people from search and rescue organizations from snowmobiles down on the bottom area that's accessible in that manner. We're just continuing on and continuing to work any of the possible areas he may have gone," said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry.
The command center is where all of the decision making and planning for the search takes place. Sheriff Curry, who is leading the search, says the area they're looking in is 350 to 400 acres of heavily treed with steep terrain.
"We've covered fairly methodically and pretty well probably 50% of that and we'll continue our efforts today and through the weekend as well," Sheriff Curry said.
He added that it's possible Torgerson has an avalanche transceiver on and searchers will continue to attempt to try to locate a signal. Batteries typically last about eight days.
"We are potentially still in the battery life of the transceiver if he does have one on and we're looking at that," Sheriff Curry said.
He added that additional crews from Gallatin County Search and Rescue and Lewis and Clark County Search and Rescue are lending a hand. "Our numbers will actually be up a little bit over the weekend. We'll have lots of people out there continuing the search."
"We do have a fairly large overhead team, people working on plans, people working on logistics, people working on safety. Safety of the rescuers and searchers is one of our paramount concerns right now," Sheriff Curry said.
"We have a lot of people up here right now that are working in some very challenging and hazardous conditions so we're trying to stay on top of that and provide whatever support we can," he added.
Sheriff Curry says with more snow expected in the forecast it doesn't change things, and they'll continue to the search.
Torgerson is a long time practicing physician at North Valley Hospital as well as an experienced back skier.