Avalanche Fatality in Alaska Last Week Was A Local Legend

Mitch McDermott | | AvalancheAvalanche
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Randy Bergt touring the Alaska backcountry.  Photo: Kirk Johnson

It comes with a heavy heart in announcing that’s last week’s avalanche fatality took the life of 60 year old Randy Bergt on Hatcher Pass, Alaska.  Bergt was with two others when he entered the slope, which triggered the avalanche.  He was caught, then carried through a terrain trap, before being buried approximately four feet deep.  His partners were able to locate him quickly, however their efforts of performing CPR were unsuccessful.

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Human triggered avalanche on President’s Ridge, Marmot Mountain.  Image: alaskasnow.org

Bergt played a huge role in the Anchorage ski community.  From the middle to late 1990s, he coached the boys and girls Service High School ski teams. On top of coaching the school’s ski teams, he volunteered in the Anchorage outdoor community for many years, but his legacy went far beyond that.

“The number of lives he touched was immense in the community, so we’re going to miss him.  He was always willing to lend a hand and advice to any aspect of skiing or just a kind word for what was going on in your life too.” – Marcy Baker, friend of Bergt for 30+ years

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Randy Bergt in his younger years.  Photo: adn.com

“We can all take something from Randy.  There’s enough people in this community that want to continue his legacy and his acts of unselfishness.” – Whitney, who was coached by Bergt at Service High

Numerous people the ski community described the impact he had as “unparelleled.”  Bergt had a nordic ski trail named after him prior to his death, “Randy’s loop,” on the Service High trails.  Since the fatality, locals have started decorating a tree on “Randy’s Loop,” with anorments and ski memorabilia in his honor.

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Tree decorated in Bergt’s honor on “Randy’s Loop” after his passing.  Photo: adn.com

Bergt was an experienced and knowledgable backcountry skier.  He was fully prepared with the right gear and partners, but it was still not enough.  This tragic story is a reminder of how avalanches can take the lives of even the most experienced and prepared riders.

*Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s friends and family.


For more information about the avalanche check out the Alaska Avalanche Information Center, or SnowBrain’s article about it.

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