The early season continues to wreak havoc on the backcountry skiing community. Last week, Anchorage, Alaska skiing legend Randy Bergt was killed in an avalanche on nearby Hatcher Pass, a glacial valley near Wasilla. The 60-year-old was reportedly with two other skiers and buried beneath four feet of snow when the crown let loose and funneled down a gully or terrain trap on Marmot Mountain. Tim DeSpain with the Alaska State Troopers said Bergt was found by the two skiers he was with but they weren’t able to revive him.
Bergt was a passionate skier. But his legend in the Anchorage community was solidified by the way he mentored young people as a former nordic coach at Service High School and his penchant for sharing his passion for snow. Bergt, an experienced backcountry skier who was once a ski patroller for Utah’s Alta Ski resort, according to the Anchorage Daily News, had recently retired from his job as an engineer with the public transportation department.
“He was always positive,” Rob Whitney, an anchorage firefighter and former student of Bergt’s told a local media outlet. “There was always a fun conversation you could have with him and inevitably it circled back to skiing. The values, the work ethic and all the things we learned from him and joked about and carried on in our lives. He really did influence an entire generation of skiers.”
This was the first avalanche death in Alaska this season.