UPDATE – Missing Skiers at Montana Snowbowl Found Safe – Checked Out at Hospital [AUDIO]
UPDATE - Saturday, March 1, 11a.m.
The two skiers reported missing Friday night who skied out of bounds at Montana Snowbowl were recovered safe by Missoula County Search and Rescue.
County Sheriff Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone said that Sergeant Jeremiah Peterson and several other Search and Rescue team members resumed the search for the two skiers at about 3 a.m.
"They were able to establish contact by cellphone at about 8:15 a.m.,"Pavalone said. "They had skied about three miles into the back country wilderness and gotten lost. Skiers from Search and Rescue assisted the two out of the area, and they are currently being checked out at St. Patrick Hospital."
Pavalone said Sergeant Peterson went directly from the site of Friday's Rattlesnake area avalanche to Snowbowl to begin the search for the missing skiers at about 9 p.m. Friday night, and had to suspend the search at about midnight due to below zero temperatures and gusty winds. They were rescued at about 10 a.m.
Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office Facebook page is reporting that the search for two missing skiers on Montana Snowbowl was temporarily suspended just before midnight on February 28.
The report came in to 9-1-1 at about 10 p.m. Friday that two skiers who had skied out of bounds on Snowbowl were missing. 10 Search and Rescue members left the avalanche scene at Harrison and Holly Streets and headed to Snowbowl, and searched until midnight.
"After searching for several hours in sub-zero temperatures for the missing skiers at Snowbowl, Search and Rescue crews temporarily suspended search efforts for the missing skiers at about 2330 hours tonight.
Searchers will reconvene at 0900 hours Saturday am. Cell phone contact with the missing skiers was last made at about 2200 hours on Friday night - subsequent phone calls to the skiers were unsuccessful with only voicemail being reached."
In addition, after the successful search and rescue effort at the site of Friday afternoon's avalanche at Harrison and Holly Streets, the Sheriff's Office issued the following press release.
Given the current weather conditions, the foothills terrain including Mount Jumbo, Mount Sentinel and the terrain north of Missoula (including Waterworks Hill) have accumulated enough snow to be considered avalanche terrain. Recent heavy snow load and high winds are complicating the situation. Any open snow covered terrain that is steeper than 30 degrees is potentially hazardous. Recent avalanche activity on Mount Jumbo a big clue that other steep similar terrain is also dangerous. Most avalanches happen during or immediately after a storm. As the storm progresses, avalanche danger increases and recreation in those areas is highly discouraged."
Another heavy snowfall is expected Sunday night into Monday, according to the National Weather Service office in Missoula.