Snowmobiler who lost his life in avalanche identified

Searchers on Saturday located and recovered the body of snowmobiler Lance J. Gidley, 54, Sandpoint, who was caught in an avalanche Friday afternoon in Boundary County. A group of experienced riders familiar with the area, in cooperation with Boundary County Sheriff and the County Search and Dive Rescue Team, recovered Gidley’s remains, which were received by the county coroner around 8 p.m. Saturday.

The recovery operation took about nine hours due to the rugged terrain, challenging weather and high risk of further avalanche.

Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer commended the professional searchers and volunteers, some of whom were friends of the deceased man.
“My sincere condolences to his family and friends,” he said. “I’m glad we were able to provide them some closure by completing this recovery today. The recovery team did a great job and the Chaplain’s Corps was really helpful to the family.”

Mr. Gidley had been snowmobiling Friday afternoon with a friend when they encountered the avalanche. The friend was barely able to outrun the avalanche on his snowmobile and immediately returned to search for his companion, who was wearing an avalanche beacon. Sadly, Gidley was found already deceased under about four feet of snow.

The incident is still being investigated by the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center in Sandpoint. Avalanche warnings were in effect for the area at the time and were known to the riders. No other injuries were sustained in the incident.