DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, Alaska — An employee at Denali National Park and Preserve died in an avalanche while backcountry skiing not far from the park entrance, officials said Friday.
Denali National Park and Preserve / National Park Service Photo via AP
Eric Walter, who provided radio-based safety support and dispatch services for National Park Service operations across Alaska, died Thursday in an avalanche, the park said in a prepared statement.
A man told park canal workers that he saw a skier in an avalanche on an unnamed north-facing slope about 10 miles into the park, near the park’s only road.
Responding rangers found an empty truck parked about a mile from the avalanche site. A ranger used a spotting scope to search for survivors in the avalanche debris.
The ranger saw two skis, one vertical and the other lying flat on the surface, the statement said.
The park’s climbing team, based in nearby Talkeetna, flew to the site in a contracted helicopter. Two ranger skiers, later identified as Walter, determined to be dead.
“Our thoughts are with Eric’s family during this challenging time,” Denali Superintendent Brooke Merrell said in the statement.
“Eric was a beloved member of the Alaska Regional Communications Center (Denali Dispatch),” Park said.
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