BIGHORN MOUNTAINS — A Minnesota man visiting the Bighorns on a snowmobiling outing is thanking his lucky stars after surviving an avalanche Wednesday on the west side of Sheridan County.
The man had been out with a group of three other riders when the slide occurred, burying him.
Another group of riders, including Bear Lodge guide Lee Hart, was on a recreational ride when Hart saw the slide happen and saw a sled at the bottom of the hill.
Lodge owner Roberta Young said Hart immediately rode over to the slide area where one of the men was waiving his arms and said, “One of our guys is buried.”
Luckily, the group had been wearing avalanche beacons and they were able to determine the buried man’s location.
“His head was about 2 feet under the snow when they dug him out,” Young said. “He was breathing, but his face was turning blue. He wasn’t really alert for a few minutes.”
Young said Hart then went to an area with cellphone service and called for help.
The Minnesota man was not transported for any medical treatment and Young said he rode his own sled back to the lodge. Young also noted that the man is set to be married in a couple of week in Minnesota. The man’s name was not immediately available.
Young also noted that Bear Lodge will be hosting an avalanche training course later this month.
“Yesterday’s real life happening is a reminder of why we’re doing the classes,” Young said.
The avalanche class will be held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at Bear Lodge, for additional information visit sledchatter.com/northern-big-horns-event-schedule.