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Avalanche warnings issued in Montana

Wed., Jan. 6, 2010, 10:56 a.m.

Ski patroller buried in slide at Jackson Hole

Avalanche warnings have been issued for the mountains in southwest and west-central Montana as heavy snow fell on weak snowpack.

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center has issued a backcountry avalanche warning for all of its forecast area: the Bridger Range, the entire Madison and Gallatin ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone, the mountains around Cooke City and the Washburn Range in Yellowstone National Park.

Doug Chabot says he does not believe the center has ever issued a warning for its entire forecast area.

Steve Karkanen with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center says the avalanche danger is high at elevations above 6,000 feet in the Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, Southern Swan and Mission Mountains near Seeley Lake.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort officials in Wyoming say a ski patroller was buried by an avalanche this morning.

The patroller was dug out of the snow and taken to the Village Clinic; his condition has not been released.

The avalanche was triggered by the resort’s ski patrol before the lifts were open to the public.

The resort has received more than 30 inches of snow in the last week, including 10 inches in the 24 hours before the avalanche.

On Sunday, a Billings man was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling near Cooke City.

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