Cooke City-area avalanche sweeps Bozeman skiers down Republic Mountain

A photo of the crown of the avalanche that was 1.5 to 2 feet deep and broke on a layer of faceted crystals according to the GNFAC report.

BOZEMAN- A group of Bozeman-area skiers climbing up The Fin on Republic Mountain outside of Cooke City were swept down by an avalanche on January 8, 2021.

According to a report by the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center (GNFAC) one skier was seriously injured and had to be evacuated by helicopter and another was temporarily unconscious and not breathing.

The group of six was climbing up the slope with avalanche beacons and rescue gear along with shovels to test the snowpack as they scaled up.

Once the avalanche occurred three skiers were caught and partially buried.

One skier was able to deployed his airbag allowing himself to get free of the snow debris. A beacon search led him to see another skier who was buried head-first not breathing and unconscious.

Another skier was partially buried higher in the path who sustained serious injuries to his ribs and lungs and was evacuated by helicopter.

Teton County Search and Rescue and Park County Search and Rescue would eventually come to help out.

According to a video by Doug Chabot of the GNFAC the skiers used their shovels to test the snowpack before climbing but the snowpack lessened and weakened as they ascend from where they dug the test hole.

The full accident report can be found here.

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