Snowmobiler dies in avalanche near Choteau; snow biker injured in Swan slide

Print Article

A snowmobiler who died in an avalanche Jan. 5 near Choteau was not wearing an avalanche transceiver, according to information in a preliminary report from the Flathead Avalanche Center.

The fatal avalanche occurred in Waldron Creek west of Choteau on the Flathead National Forest. Teton County Sheriff Keith Van Setten identified the victim as 35-year-old Eric S. Greyn, of Choteau.

Greyn was a member of a four-person party of relatives who were snowmobiling 2 miles south of Teton Pass Ski Area.

According to the avalanche center’s report, the snow slide was unintentionally triggered by a snowmobiler in the group, and was large enough to “destroy a car or wood frame house,” the report said.

“Two riders were caught, one was injured and one buried 2 feet deep. Unfortunately, the buried rider was not wearing a beacon and did not survive.”

Searchers found the victim’s body by using poles to probe the snow.

The snowpack failed 1 to 5 feet deep on a weak layer near the ground.

Also on Saturday, a man riding a motorized snow bike was seriously injured after being swept by an avalanche off a cliff at the top of Spring Slide Mountain in the southern Swan Range.

According a preliminary report from the Flathead Avalanche Center, the group of motorized snow bikers was stopped on top of the peak to take pictures and check maps. A large cornice broke beneath one of the riders.

“The cornice subsequently triggered several thick slab avalanches in very steep, rocky and cliffy terrain,” the report stated. “These appear to be persistent slabs.”

The rider fell 200 feet over cliff bands and was carried another 100 feet down the slope and buried. His partners were able to dig him out, but he suffered numerous serious injuries from the fall.

Two Bear Air evacuated the victim and he was recovering from surgery on Sunday.

Avalanche danger was rated as considerable above 5,000 feet across the forecast area on Monday. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential, the avalanche center warned.

Monday’s avalanche reported stated that persistent slab avalanches remain a problem.

“They are a low probability high consequence problem as was unfortunately illustrated with the recent avalanche fatality outside of Choteau.”

Print Article

Read More Local News

Whitefish mental-health service expands to meet need

January 15, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake By way of a lot of hard work, Sweetgrass Psychological Services in Whitefish has managed to expand its operations with new staff and a new building, despite a county-wide decline of mental-health res...

Comments

Read More

Investigation yields no gun at Kalispell Middle School

January 15, 2019 at 5:52 pm | Daily Inter Lake No gun was found in Kalispell Middle School following an investigation into an allegation that one was possibly located in a student locker. A letter from Principal Tryg Johnson and School Resource ...

Comments

Read More

Allegiant to offer direct flight to Phoenix

January 15, 2019 at 9:07 am | Daily Inter Lake Las Vegas-based Allegiant airlines will offer a new direct flight from Kalispell to Phoenix beginning May 15. The year-round route will operate twice weekly, flying from Glacier Park International A...

Comments

Read More

Park Knoll annexation on Planning Board agenda

January 15, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The city of Whitefish is on track to annex 16 properties and an adjacent road along Park Knoll Lane. The proposed rezoning of those parcels is the focus of a Whitefish Planning Board public hearing o...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2019 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X