Friday, May 24, 2013

Valley resident dies while mountain biking

Abromeit helped form local and national avalanche forecasting centers

Express Staff Writer

     Longtime Wood River Valley resident Doug Abromeit, 65, died Sunday, May 19, while mountain biking on the Wolftone Creek trail in the Deer Creek area northwest of Hailey.

     Sheriff Gene Ramsey said Abromeit was riding ahead of two companions shortly before 1 p.m. when he fell over.  His companions tried to revive him but were unsuccessful.

     Blaine County Coroner Russ Mikel said he has not yet received results of an autopsy being conducted in Boise, but said Abromeit appears to have died of a natural cause.

     Abromeit worked as the snow ranger at Alta and Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah during the 1980s. In 1989, he helped initiate the U.S. Forest Service National Avalanche Center. He went to work for the Ketchum Ranger District in 1994 as Sawtooth National Forest snow ranger, permit administrator and avalanche specialist.

     In 1995, Abromeit initiated the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center. In 1999, he was named full-time director of the National Avalanche Center, but continued to work from Ketchum. He retired from that position in 2011.

     At the time of his death, Abromeit was still playing an important role with the National Avalanche School as instructor, field session coordinator and liaison with ski area managers and snow safety personnel. He also was a member of the National Avalanche School steering committee.

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