Visitors urged to be prepared for strenuous travel in winter conditions

WEST GLACIER, MT. – At approximately 5:40 pm on New Year’s Day, Glacier National Park received a text page from Flathead County Dispatch for a man who had become stuck in the deep snowpack while skiing the Apgar Lookout Trail. 

Park rangers, Flathead County, and North Valley Search & Rescue coordinated a response.

The 25-year-old man from Great Falls, MT had become stuck in the deep snowpack while traveling off trail during his descent.

Park rangers were able to communicate with the stuck skier via text message and successfully directed him back to the trail.  Rangers skied to his location and escorted him back to the trailhead where he was transported back to his vehicle via snowmobile

The skier and search and rescue team arrived back at the skier’s vehicle at approximately 11:00 pm.  North Valley Search & Rescue provided snowmobile transport. The skier was uninjured.

Flathead County provided additional coordination, cell phone tracking, and identifying supplemental resources in case they were needed. “We are incredibly fortunate to have the expertise of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office to partner with on these types of searches,” said Glacier National Park Chief Ranger Paul Austin. “Their assistance facilitated a much faster rescue.”

“Visitors should be prepared for circumstances like this when backcountry skiing in the winter,” said Austin. “Breaking trail can be very difficult. Bring extra clothes, ski with a partner, plan for challenging conditions, and be prepared for the likely possibility that your cell phone will not work. Even if it does, a rescue could be many hours away depending on your location.”

Always check for avalanche conditions before skiing in the park at the Flathead Avalanche Center. Additional information about safety and trail conditions can be found on Glacier National Park’s website.

Views from the top of the Apgar Lookout Trail can be found on the park’s webcams.

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