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Ski Patroller Dies In Avalanche Near Big Sky

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A ski patroller died yesterday in an avalanche just outside the Yellowstone Club ski resort.

Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Forecaster Eric Knoff said that two patrollers were helping two Montana State University graduate students collect research when one of the patrollers skied too far onto a steep slope, triggering the slide. The victim, 34-year-old Darren Johnson from Big Sky, was rescued by the others with him, but died from trauma, according to a statement from the Yellowstone Club.

Knoff said there is an elevated avalanche danger because of poor snowpack structure in Montana and the West. He said the rest of the season looks like it will continue to deal with unstable snowpack structure.

"And now is not the time, now is not the year to go push it in steep avalanche terrain,” Knoff said.

This is the second death of the winter season in Montana so far.

For information about current Montana avalanche conditions, see the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center website.

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