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Missoula Man Dies In Idaho Avalanche

Reviewing Avalanche Safety With 'Field Notes'

A Missoula man was killed by an avalanche outside of West Yellowstone in Idaho Saturday.

Raymond John Moe, 46, and three companions were riding motorized snowbikes up a drainage to the south of Reas Peak outside of Island Park in the Centennial Range, and triggered a slide above them.

Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, says this is the second avalanche fatality in the area in two weeks.

"Right now, especially in these southern areas I'm really recommending that people notch it back a little," Chabot says. "This is not the time to be getting onto big slopes, this is not the time to be trying to highmark peaks or anything. We're also seeing that small avalanches that are triggered from low on the slope can be deadly."

Chabot says the avalanche that buried Moe was 600 feet wide, 300 feet long and 2.5 feet deep.

All four men in the party wore beacons and carried shovels and probes. Moe also wore an avalanche airbag but it was not deployed. His friends were able to locate and free him of the snow. They performed CPR and a Life Flight responded, but Moe could not be resuscitated.

Chabot says this is the nation’s seventh avalanche fatality this season.

You can find reports and forecasts for western Montana here:

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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