Two Minnesota men die in Montana avalanche

December 29, 2021

COOKE CITY, Mont. (AP) — Two Minnesota men died in an avalanche while snowmobiling in the mountains north of Yellowstone National Park, where about 3 feet of snow had fallen over the past week.

A group of eight snowmobilers was recreating in the area of Scotch Bonnet Mountain north of Cooke City at mid-day Monday. One man got stuck on the southeast facing slope and another man was trying to help dig him out when the avalanche happened.

The avalanche brought down snow about 5 feet deep and approximately 300 feet wide, burying the two riders.

The group had avalanche beacons and rescue equipment. Rescue crews were able to dig the men out and attempted CPR, but were unable to revive them.

The victims are identified as Jesse Thelen, 43, of Paynesville, Minnesota, and Carl Thelen, 40, from St. Martin, Minnesota.