GALLATIN COUNTY – Just after midnight on Tuesday, rescuers located and retrieved a Bozeman man who went off-trail while snowmobiling near Storm Castle.
The 52-year-old man’s wife said he had gone snowmobiling by himself in the area of Storm Castle and was expected to return before dark. When he didn’t return, the man’s wife drove to the trailhead, located his truck, and then called Sheriff’s Search and Rescue to make the report.
Reach Air Medical flew the man’s planned route, using a search light and night vision but did not find him. Rescuers responded to the area with snowmobiles and found him hiking down the road 3 miles from the trailhead. The man said that he had gone off the trail 12 miles up the road near the cabins and became stuck.
He tried to get unstuck but realized he would not be able to on his own and decided to hike back to his truck. He told rescuers that he had seen the helicopter and that its search light had passed over him but said he didn’t have a light to signal with.
The man was dressed in riding gear that was appropriate for current weather conditions. Rescuers transported him back to the trailhead. He was uninjured and in good spirits.
Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind people who enter the backcountry always to go with a partner and be prepared to spend the night should things not go as planned. Telling someone where you’re going and when you plan to return was very helpful in this case.