A third avalanche this month has turned fatal as rescue crews recover the body of a Cut Bank man this afternoon near Marias Pass. Search and rescue crews from Glacier and Flathead Counties responded to an avalanche call around noon on Saturday. The two men were snow biking near Marias Pass, four miles down Skyland Road.
Officials say the pair might have triggered the slide from which one man was able to escape.
"The 911 call came from the party that was able to get out of the avalanche and was able to walk a distance to search and rescue members," said Flathead Search and Rescue coordinator Brian Heino.
Officials sent up a helicopter to survey the area as crews from the Park Service, the Forest Service, and North Valley Search and Rescue arrived on scene.
"It sounds like his riding partner was able to locate him and dig him out. Unfortunately he was dead at that point," explained Flathead Sheriff Chuck Curry.
The avalanche occurred less than 24 hours after the latest Glacier Country Avalanche report was issued. The report noted that the snowpack from 5-7,000 feet was considerably unstable with dangerous avalanche conditions present.
Curry says that backcountry enthusiasts need to heed the warnings - "The avalanche conditions are well publicized and are extremely dangerous right now. I just can't stress enough that people need to be prepared and consider whether or not its even worth recreating in the area you're going to go to on that particular day."
Authorities have not yet released the names of the victim or his partner.