A skier and a snowmobiler died less than two hours apart this week in separate snow avalanches in western Wyoming, a National Forest official said on Saturday.
The skier, Michael Kazanjy, 29, was buried under four feet of snow on Thursday and could not be uncovered in time to save his life, said Bob Comey, director of the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center. Kazanjy was skiing in back-country near Jackson, Wyoming.
The snowmobiler, Rex J. Anderson, 39, died in an avalanche less than two hours later near the Idaho border.
Anderson was in a group of several snowmobiles and got caught in a 100-yard-wide (91-metre-wide) slide that left him buried under six feet of snow, according to a report on the avalanche center website.
He was dug out in less than 10 minutes, but died, Comey said.
People can quickly suffocate under heavy snow, which also can have a crushing effect on their bodies, Comey said.
Snow conditions were not especially hazardous on Thursday when the deaths occurred, Comey said. The avalanche center posts detailed information on snow conditions.
"Our mission is to give people the information they need that is available," Comey said. "We have no control over the decisions they make."
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Kevin Gray and Vicki Allen)