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Avalanche victim triggered slide while testing snowpack

Associated Press

KALISPELL, Mont. – A Kalispell man who died of injuries suffered in an avalanche in Glacier National Park triggered the slide while he was testing the stability of the snowpack.

The information was included in the Flathead Avalanche Center’s report on the Jan. 5 avalanche that killed 36-year-old Ben Parsons, an experienced backcountry skier and endurance athlete.

The report said Parsons and another man had climbed up a ridge, noting areas of weak snow. When they got to the summit of Stanton Mountain they decided to carefully descend the same ridge they had climbed.

At one point, Parsons down weighted his skis to test the snow stability, triggering an avalanche that broke uphill and immediately knocked him off his feet.

His skiing partner found him on the surface of the debris field against a tree and semi-conscious. He called 911. Parsons died during the rescue effort.

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