Bozeman Man Survives Avalanche, Partial Burial
On Saturday, February 16, Bozeman resident, Wylie Picotte was caught in an avalanche during a backcountry ski trip on Wyoming's Teton Pass.
Picotte was skiing with a group of people when he apparently triggered an avalanche near Wolf Trap.
According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Picotte and his partners had been skiing in the area in the morning and the snow showed no signs of weakness. Picotte stated that he jumped off a rock and landed in a shallower part of the snowpack. After making a couple turns, he was knocked down from behind by the moving snow.
He then threw his poles and attempted to deploy his airbag to stay above the moving snow.
After the snow stopped moving, he had one hand above the debris and was able to remove snow from his face in order to breath.
Other members of the ski party were reportedly above Picotte and were not involved in the avalanche and did not receive any injuries.
Meanwhile, below Picotte's group, another party was in the area and got swept up in the avalanche.
One member of that group, Satchel Toole said this to the Jackson Hole News & Guide:
“I just heard something behind me, and I didn’t get a chance to look,” Toole said. “I got knocked off my feet right away. The only two things going through my head were trying to start digging out and trying to control my breathing.”
At some point, Toole reportedly stopped breathing and members of his group worked to resuscitate him. Eventually, he began to breathe again.
Toole indicates that he doesn't blame anyone for the incident, but will be more aware of his surroundings in the future.