Snowmobiler killed in Montana avalanche identified

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Associated Press

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 12:03 AM

COOKE CITY, Mont. (AP) — The 18-year-old Minnesota man who died after he was buried in an avalanche in southwestern Montana has been identified.

Authorities say Zach Junkermeier, of Lake Lillian, Minn., was stuck on a slope and trying to start his snowmobile Tuesday afternoon when the avalanche occurred. Another snowmobiler was riding above him on the mountain at the time.

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center continues to investigate the cause of the slide, which happened in the Daisy Pass and Crown Butte area near Cooke City.

The avalanche center estimates the avalanche was 500 feet wide, 600 feet long and up to 20 feet deep in places.

Junkermeier is the fifth Montana avalanche victim since Jan. 1. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says 23 people have died in avalanches nationwide since Dec. 26.

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