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Kalispell man who died in snowboarding accident identified

by Daily Inter Lake
| March 1, 2021 9:05 AM

Officials have identified a man who died Friday after falling into a tree well while snowboarding outside the boundary of Whitefish Mountain Resort.

According to Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino, the man was identified as Matt Gilman, 46, of Kalispell. He was reportedly snowboarding with friends when the accident occurred.

An autopsy at the Montana State Crime Lab is pending.

According to information from the resort, ski patrol members were alerted to the incident at 12:05 p.m. Ski patrol skied the last known area where the individual was said to have been seen and found Gilman in a tree well around 1:35 p.m., below the Ghoulie Point area. The group of friends reportedly had planned to ski the out-of-bounds terrain and reconvene at the base of Chair 5 on East Rim.

CPR was performed on scene and the patient was transported to North Valley Hospital's Base Lodge Clinic at the ski resort.

Two Bear Air and ALERT helicopters were dispatched, but it was determined that ground transportation via toboggan was the most efficient mode of transport. After the patient arrived at the clinic, Big Mountain ambulance transported the patient to the hospital.

The incident is the first tree-well related death on Big Mountain since 2018.

Christine Johnson, a 21-year-old Montana State University student from Wisconsin, died of blunt force injuries after falling into a tree well while skiing at Bridger Bowl near Bozeman on Feb. 16, Gallatin County officials said.

Whitefish Mountain Resort reminds people to ski with a buddy and with a whistle. More information on tree well safety can be found here.

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