MISSOULA – An avalanche that killed two Montana snowmobilers was triggered when two riders tried to dig out a third whose snowmobile was stuck, avalanche experts said.
The West Central Montana Avalanche Center released the analysis Monday into the avalanche that killed Jade Green, 24, and Lowell Grosvold, 26, on New Year’s Day, The Missoulian reported.
A third man survived the avalanche north of Seeley Lake, which is about 53 miles (85 kilometers) northeast of Missoula.
The center’s preliminary report released online said the avalanche began at 6,740 feet (2,054 meters) in elevation.
The center issued an avalanche warning that day after a storm deposited additional snow on terrain that was already unstable.
The first rider rode partway up a slope and became stuck around 2 p.m. The second and third riders went to help the snowmobile that was stuck, which triggered the avalanche and swept all three riders down the slope, the report said.
More than two dozen people consisting primarily of volunteers took part in the recovery effort, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office said.
The avalanche center plans to issue a more detailed report soon.