Ski Biker Killed by Avalanche Near Cooke City, MT

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A snow bike rider died after triggering an avalanche on Miller Mountain in the Sheep Creek drainage north of Cooke City, MT, at 5 pm on Saturday.

The rider was caught, strained through cliffs, and partially buried with a hand and airbag visible, according to a post from the Friends Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

We are sad to report that today, February 19th, around 5 p.m. a snow bike rider (motorized) triggered and was killed in…

Posted by Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Saturday, 19 February 2022

Crown with waterfall marked. Credit: GNFAC

The identity of the person who died has not yet been released. No further details are currently available, and the incident is being investigated.

Late Saturday afternoon, February 19, a group of 3 snowmobilers and 2 snowbikers were in the Sheep Creek drainage north of Cooke City. The two snowbikers were high on the slope when one stopped on a small ridge while the other climbed higher and triggered a large avalanche. The avalanche carried him down through a gully and over a cliff where he was partially buried near the toe of the debris. His arm and airbag were visible and his head was 1 foot under the surface. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and the victim was evacuated by Park County SAR. The avalanche was 800 feet wide, averaged 2 feet deep (estimated) and ran 1200 feet vertical. The avalanche likely broke on facets and depth hoar at the ground in an area that was thinly covered and recently wind-loaded. The debris was up to 15 feet deep and the avalanche size is rated R3-D3. A full report with details will be released in the coming days.

GNFAC report

This was the fourth avalanche-related death in recent weeks in Montana and the tenth in the US this winter.

Current avalanche forecast in Montana. Credit: GNFAC

Two snowmobilers died in an avalanche north of Cooke City on December 27, and a snowmobiler was killed after being caught by an avalanche west of West Yellowstone on Sunday, February 6.

Burial location. Credit: GNFAC
Toe of debris marked. Credit: GNFAC
Overview from afar. Credit: GNFAC
Credit: GNFAC

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