Park City man dies in Montana backcountry avalanche

Mar 13, 2024, 5:14 PM | Updated: Mar 14, 2024, 12:46 pm

Montana avalanche leads to utah man's death...

(Ravalli County Sheriff's Office)

(Ravalli County Sheriff's Office)

SULA, Mont. — A Utah skier, 64-year-old David Macfarlane, was killed after getting swept away in an avalanche in Montana yesterday afternoon.

Utah skier killed in Montana avalanche

According to the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office, Utah skier Macfarlane was out with a group around the Lost Trail Ski Area, a part of the Montana backcountry, when the avalanche was triggered. The area is near a local ski resort that borders Idaho.

The sheriff’s office said Macfarlane died of injuries he got during the avalanche.

Law enforcement said Macfarlane got swept away from his group.

When the rest of his party found him they began life-saving efforts. Search and Rescue said Macfarlane had unfortunately died by the time they got there. 

The Missoula Avalanche Center said in its preliminary report, the avalanche was about 250 feet wide and 3 feet deep. They say it failed on a “buried persistent weak layer”.

On Tuesday, March 12th, 2024, a group of five people were backcountry skiing northwest of Lost Trail Pass in the Bitterroot Mountains. One of the skiers was caught in a large avalanche on a north aspect at around 8000 ft. Other members of the group were able to locate the victim and begin first aid. They were also able to notify emergency services using a satellite device. The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office, Ravalli County Search and Rescue, and Two Bear Air from Flathead County responded to the incident. Two Bear Air, with the assistance of Ravalli County Search and Rescue, hoisted the victim from the scene. Unfortunately, the victim had died due to injuries sustained in the avalanche before the helicopter’s arrival. Forecasters from the West Central Montana Avalanche Center visited the accident site on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024. The avalanche was approximately 250 feet wide and 3 feet deep and failed on a buried persistent weak layer.

It is unclear what triggered the avalanche at this time.

The sheriff’s office issued a reminder to check avalanche conditions with the National Weather Service and Northwest Avalanche Center for Montana before heading into the backcountry.


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Park City man dies in Montana backcountry avalanche