Skier dies, snowboarder rescued in Whitefish - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Skier dies, snowboarder rescued in Whitefish

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WHITEFISH - A Canadian skier died at Whitefish Mountain Resort Friday.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office says a 56-year-old Canadian resident was skiing with a friend when they became separated. 

The friend reported him missing, and after a two-hour search by Whitefish Mountain Resort Ski Patrol, his body was found around 3:15 p.m. in a tree well in-bounds not far from the summit.

The victim’s name and city of residence are being withheld pending notification of family.

Whitefish Mountain Resort issued the following statement to MTN News on Sunday:

"Any death at our resort is a tragedy and felt deeply by the entire Whitefish Mountain Resort community. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends as they cope during this difficult time."

"This accident is another unfortunate reminder that tree wells are an inherent risk of the sport. We encourage our guests to take extra caution when skiing in the trees and deep snow. Ski with a partner and keep them in sight. Call ski patrol immediately if someone is missing. Be as precise as you can in describing the trail name and location as well as the description of the missing person. We will continue to help our guests understand the risks and encourage educating themselves on this subject. An excellent resource for learning more about tree wells and deep snow safety is the website deepsnowsafety.org, which can be linked to from the Tree Well & Deep Snow Safety page of our website."

In a separate incident Friday, a 30-year-old Canadian snowboarder was reported missing by friends who had last seen in the Chair 2 area about 6:30 pm. A search by Flathead Search and Rescue and Nordic Ski Patrol was initiated. 

The Two Bear Air Rescue helicopter responded and was able to locate him out of bounds shortly before midnight below the ski resort between Northern Lights Drive and Whitefish Lake.  

He had become lost in the dark and wound up below the lift.  He was rescued by Two Bear and returned to the resort. 

The search for Dr. Jon Torgerson continued Saturday as well, with volunteer search and rescue personnel searching out of bounds from the Flower Point area on skis and volunteers from North Valley Search and Rescue working the lower sections of the search area on snowmobiles and snowshoes. 

Sheriff Chuck Curry says he is thankful to all the dedicated volunteers who have been working countless hours over the last two weeks in multiple search and rescue cases.     

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