NewsMontana and Regional News


Bozeman school principal identified as avalanche victim

Craig Kitto of Bozeman
beehive basin avalanche.jpg
Posted at 11:07 AM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 20:27:04-05

BOZEMAN — The man who died in an avalanche on Sunday has been identified as Craig Kitto of Bozeman.

The Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner's Office said Kitto, 45 years old, was the principal at Whittier Elementary School in Bozeman.

The slide was triggered around 11:30 a.m. just north of Big Sky where Kitto and a friend were on split boards when the avalanche broke.

Kitto was carried about 100 yards down the mountain, where he hit a tree and was partially buried. He was flown to a Bozeman hospital where he later died of his injuries.

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is investigating, and says the snowpack in the region has been particularly weak this season. Right now, the avalanche danger is rated at moderate in the Gallatin and Madison Ranges, and moderate in the Bridger range with more mountain snow on the way.

(FEBRUARY 14) The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office has confirmed with MTN News that a man died on Sunday from injuries sustained after being caught in an avalanche at Beehive Basin near Big Sky.

The Sheriff's Office released the following information on Sunday evening:

  • On February 14, 2021 at 11:44 am, two backcountry skiers were caught in an avalanche in Beehive Basin. Both skiers were swept down slope into trees. One was not buried and did not sustain any injuries. He immediately called 911 when he heard his partner yelling for help.
  • The second male sustained multiple injuries due to being drug into the trees by the avalanche and was partially buried in snow.
  • Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky, LifeFlight and Big Sky Fire Department responded. Search and Rescue members were able to quickly make it to the backcountry location, assess the patient and start rescue procedures. A Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue helicopter team was able to transport the patient to an awaiting ambulance which then transported the patient to Big Sky Medical Center. The patient was subsequently flown to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital by LifeFlight Network helicopter.

The Sheriff's Office has not released at this time the name of the man who died or his skiing partner. We will update this story with any further information we receive.