A close call Saturday afternoon, as 4 snowmobilers who were buried in an avalanche northeast of Missoula all survived, and were able to ride out on their own, according to Seeley Lake Search and Rescue.

This happened west of Seeley Lake, in the North Fork Bowl area, at approximately 1:20 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

A snowfall monitor in the area registered 8 inches of new snow there in the 6 hours before the avalanche.

Search and rescue officials say two people who were buried were able to dig themselves out.

They then used an emergency beacon and a snow probe to locate and rescue the other two men.

One was unconscious, but recovered, and we're told all 4 rode out before search and rescue crews could reach them.

Jerry Connell, with Seeley Lake SAR, says it could have been a lot worse.

"Just don't go into the back country without you're avalanche equipment - your transceiver, probe, and a shovel," said Connell. "These guys were lucky today. They had their right equipment. But if you didn't have it, the scene would have been a lot different."

The avalanche danger in the ranges around Missoula is listed at considerable, which means human triggered avalanches are likely.

The same is true for the Flathead and Gallatin mountain ranges.

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