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Four Individuals Survive Avalanche in Canyon Creek Drainage
Backcountry travelers partially buried in 900-foot wide avalanche in Canyon Creek drainage
Avalanche training. File photo by Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
Four individuals survived a massive avalanche that occurred in the Canyon Creek drainage near Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday, according to officials.

A snowmobiler triggered the avalanche on a series of south-facing chutes known as the “Skook Chutes” or “Seven Sisters,” according to an incident report by the Flathead Avalanche Center. The slide was roughly 900 feet wide and ran 700 vertical feet downhill. Debris reached the Canyon Creek Road and was reported to be roughly 6 feet deep.

Four individuals in the area were partially buried but made it out OK, according to the FAC. No further details were available.

The local center is continuing to investigate the incident and will post a full report online.

Several avalanches were reported across the Flathead Valley over the weekend, according to the FAC. Snowmobilers in the Skyland area near Marias Pass reported remotely triggering an avalanche on a north aspect. Natural avalanche activity was observed in John F. Stevens Canyon along the southern edge of Glacier Park. Skiers and snowmobilers in the Canyon Creek drainage reported a number of human-triggered avalanches on southerly facing aspects.

“It is important to note that, not only are we encountering natural avalanches and human triggered avalanches, but we are getting reports of remotely triggered avalanches,” said Seth Carbonari with the FAC.

The FAC issued another special advisory Monday morning warning of high avalanche danger in the backcountry mountains of the Flathead Range and portions of Glacier National Park. The avalanche danger in the Whitefish Range is rated “considerable.”

Conditions have been dangerous in the past week due to heavy snowfall, strong winds and highly unstable conditions, according to the local center.

Two skiers were killed in an avalanche in Colorado and a snowmobiler was killed in Idaho over the weekend, hiking the death toll this winter to 15. Nine of those fatalities have occurred in February across the West.
 
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