A Bozeman man was killed in an avalanche Tuesday on the west side of the Bridger Mountains, according to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Peter Lazar, 36, was caught in an avalanche in Truman Gulch. Two skiers in the area saw Lazar being swept away in the avalanche. They found Lazar and attempted to resuscitate.

He was pronounced dead at the scene due to injuries sustained from the avalanche.

Gallatin County Search and Rescue, Bridger Ski Patrol, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, and Central Helicopters responded to the scene.


A woman was found dead in Big Sky Monday, sheriff’s officials reported.

Whitney Versteeg, 32, was found unresponsive and cold to the touch at a residence on Aspen Leaf Drive.

Officials said an investigation showed the death was from complications of alcoholism.


A 9-year-old boy was found dead in a tree well at Big Sky Ski Resort last week.

The boy, from Carlisle, Mass., was reported missing Tuesday, Feb. 19, by his father near the junction of Middle Road and Lobo Ski Run at the ski hill.

Shortly after the report, the boy was found dead in a tree well from blunt force injuries caused by hitting a tree on a steep slope.


Sunday at 2:26 p.m. West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch received a call from a group of three snowmobilers from Minnesota who indicated they were having difficult locating the trail due to the extremely windy and snowy conditions. Dispatch advised them to hang up and call 911 to get a better location. The GPS coordinates indicated that they were located in the area of Horse Butte approximately 10 miles north of West Yellowstone. The snowmobilers indicated that they would remain at that location and wait for the weather to improve.

At approximately 6:27 p.m. the snowmobiler again called 911, reporting that they were still at the location and still unable to locate the trail system. The snowmobilers were uninjured but were getting cold and were concerned that they would get lost if they attempted to search for the trail. Due to the whiteout conditions and rapidly dropping temperatures, the decision was made to send a rescue crew to retrieve the snowmobilers. Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone and the Custer Gallatin National Forest Service responded to assist with the rescue.

As Rescuers made their way to the lost snowmobilers, they encountered a second group of snowmobilers who were stuck and having difficulty finding their way. Rescuers retrieved the first group of lost snowmobilers, assisted the second group in getting unstuck, and escorted both groups of snowmobilers safely back to West Yellowstone.


Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 2:02 p.m. West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch received a 911 call from a snowmobiler reporting that a member of his group had crashed and broken his femur. The injured snowmobiler, a 44 year old male from Minnesota, was in the Cabin Creek area 12 miles north of West Yellowstone.

Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, National Forest Service and a helicopter from Reach Air Medical Services responded.

Rescuers made their way to the patient who was located in a steep canyon with high avalanche danger. Despite the patient’s severe pain, rescuers were able to package him onto a narrow toboggan sled. Meanwhile, a helicopter from Reach Air Medical Services was able to find a suitable place to land. Rescuers transported the patient to the helicopter, which then transported him to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for treatment.


On Wednesday Feb. 6, at 8:58 am, West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile crash on the Two Top Trail approximately 2 miles west of West Yellowstone. The injured party, a 40-year-old man from Texas, had sustained a broken leg when the snowmobile he was riding on left the trail and crashed into a tree.

Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Hebgen Basin Fire Department, and Forest Service Law Enforcement met the injured party at the scene of the crash forty minutes after the initial call for help. The man was conscious but had a broken leg. He was placed in a specialized rescue sled and transported to a nearby location to meet an ambulance crew. The ambulance then transported the patient to the Big Sky Medical Center.


Tuesday evening Feb. 5, at 6:30 a Sheriff’s Deputy at Big Sky received a report from a wife in Utah reporting that her husband and 12-year-old son were overdue from a hiking trip in the Spanish Peaks area. It was snowing hard and temperatures were below zero when the Deputy was able to plow his way through snowdrifts and reach the end of the road where he thought their vehicle would be. At 8:00 he found the vehicle abandoned 5 miles from highway 191 and dispatched Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Units from the Valley and Big Sky. Twenty snowmobilers and skiers responded promptly, knowing that conditions made it critical to find the pair quickly. At 10:00 the first search teams located the boy between the main road and the Spanish Creek Cabin. He was hypothermic and confused. Rescuers took him back to the highway where an ambulance was waiting while others continued the search for the father.

At the hospital a Sheriff’s SAR Deputy interviewed the boy as he warned up and became more coherent. Using landmarks and estimated times, the Deputy was able to narrow down an area where searchers could might find the father. The boy described being able to walk on top of the snow while his father was sinking past his knees. As the boy got further ahead of his dad he eventually lost contact and became disoriented but headed in the general direction of their car. Meanwhile SAR members at headquarters in the valley were using cell phone forensic techniques and GIS data to narrow down likely search areas.

At 1:15 Wednesday morning rescuers on skies located the father near the Pioneer Falls Trail, a few miles from the Spanish Cr. Cabin. He was conscious but hypothermic. They transported him using a rescue toboggan to the cabin, then by snowmobile rescue sled to an ambulance. Father and son were both flown to University of Utah Burn Center for frost bite injuries.


On Feb. 5 at 11:14 Gallatin County 911 received a report from Meager County Dispatch of a possible stuck motorist in the northern part of Gallatin County. A male subject had called 911 and the call was routed to Meager County. The subject reported that he had become stuck on Sixteen Mile Road the previous night. He had fuel and was warm and had no medical needs but he could not get his vehicle unstuck. The call was disconnected and they were unable re-establish phone contact with the subject. Prior to the call being disconnected the man said that he was between Maudlow and Ringling past the “steep cliffs”.

Members from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the area by truck and snowmobile. The subject was located in his stuck vehicle approximately 2.5 miles south of the Meager/Gallatin County line. He was in good health and uninjured. The man, a 36-year-old Bozeman resident, was brought out of the area by SAR personnel. His vehicle was left on scene to be recovered at a later date when road conditions improve.