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Man dies after fall during heli-ski trip in Chugach Mountains

Feb. 6—PALMER — A man from Europe died Friday afternoon after a fall on a heli-ski trip in the Chugach Mountains near Knik Glacier, a fatality that wasn't publicly disclosed until this week.

The skier "impacted a band of rocks" after triggering a snow slide and died of his injuries at an Anchorage hospital, according to a statement emailed Tuesday morning by Aaron Brill, operator and head guide for Silverton Mountain Guides, the company conducting the trip.

The fall occurred near Lake George, the company said. The area is deep in the Chugach Mountains northeast of Anchorage. No additional information was immediately available.

"The skier initiated a slide on his first turn similar to a typical Alaska sluff that entrained additional snow on the way down the run and grew in size," the statement said. "The skier was pushed into a rock band where he sustained serious injuries."

The skier was transported by helicopter to the hospital, it said.

Alaska State Troopers, contacted Monday about reports of a death, said they weren't aware of any fatal incidents involving a heli-ski operation on Friday. Troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said on Tuesday the agency is looking into the incident.

Silverton Mountain Guides said it had suspended operations this week and next week "as we extend our full support to the family and friends, to whom we wish our sympathies and condolences."

The death is the latest of several Alaska heli-ski fatalities in the last several years.

A Valdez heli-ski guide died in an April 2022 avalanche while scouting a run for clients. A Fairbanks woman was killed by an avalanche on a March 2021 heli-ski trip near Matanuska Glacier. Five men died after their helicopter crashed in the Chugach in March 2021, one of the deadliest heli-skiing aviation accidents ever in North America.

Silverton Mountain Guides has been operating in Alaska since 2008, according to the company's website, which describes it as the only operation open for the full winter season, from October through May, when most operators generally offer spring trips.

Brill is listed as the manager of the Silverton Mountain Guides LLC, a Seward-based Alaska corporation, according to state records. He and his wife founded Colorado's Silverton Mountain ski area in 1999 and sold it to new owners last year, according to a report in the Silverton Standard newspaper.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.