Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska — A Denali National Park and Preserve employee died when he was hit by an avalanche while skiing in a backcountry area near the park’s entrance, officials said Friday.
Eric Walter, who provided radio support and dispatch services for the National Park Service in Alaska, died in an avalanche Thursday, the park said in a prepared statement.
One person told park nursery staff that they saw a skier start an avalanche on an unnamed north slope about 10 miles from the park, near the park’s only road.
Responding rangers found an empty truck parked about a mile from the avalanche site. Rangers used a spyglass to search for survivors among the debris of the avalanche.
The ranger saw two skis, one upright and the other lying flat on the surface, the statement said.
The park’s climbing team, based in the nearby town of Talkeetna, flew to the site in a contracted helicopter. Two rangers determined that the skier, later identified as Walter, had died.
“Our thoughts are with Eric’s family at this difficult time,” Denali Superintendent Brooke Merrell said in a statement.
“Eric was a much-loved member of the Alaska Regional Dispatch (Denali Dispatch),” the park said.
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