The Bridger Mountains are shown in this Chronicle file photo.

Peter Lazar has been identified as the 36-year-old Bozeman man who died in an avalanche on the west side of the Bridger Range on Tuesday.

Lazar was a well-known local who often skied at Bridger Bowl, said Eric Knoff, an avalanche specialist with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

“He was just a great guy,” Knoff said. “He was an incredibly passionate skier who loved it more than anything. It was his life.”

Lazar was recently accepted into school for physical therapy and hoped to continue skiing as he pursued his new career, Knoff said.

Lazar was skiing alone at the top of Truman Gulch on St. Lawrence run when he triggered the slide on a heavily wind-loaded slope, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. Lazar was swept more than 1,000 vertical feet downhill and buried in snow.

He died at the scene due to injuries sustained from the avalanche, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

Two nearby skiers who were skinning uphill saw Lazar trigger the slide and responded quickly, getting a beacon signal and finding his hand sticking out of the snow.

The two skiers, who the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center declined to identify, dug Lazar out of the snow and performed CPR, but they were unable to revive him.

Gallatin County Search and Rescue, Bridger Ski Patrol, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center and helicopters also responded to the incident.

New snow and strong winds created the avalanche conditions, which continued through Wednesday and will likely continue for the next few days, Knoff said.

In the coming days, the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center plans to release a full report on the incident.

Lazar is among the 17 people who have died in avalanches across the United States this winter, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Perrin Stein is the county, state and federal government reporter for the Chronicle.

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