Lost Trail Ski Patrol continues search for missing skier

Lost Trail Ski Patrol continued their search for a missing skier Thursday.

MICHELLE MCCONNAHA - Ravalli Republic

There have been no new developments in the search for Bart Pickard, the 65-year-old Corvallis man, who has been missing since he was seen at Lost Trail Powder Mountain a week ago. Ravalli County Search and Rescue called off the search after two days of searching.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said searchers did everything they could to find Pickard, but the conditions made it futile to continue.

“We had information as to how and where he skied, and we covered the whole mountain,” Hoffman said. “Our guess is he fell into a tree well, but there were no tracks and too much snow in the areas he was known to frequent. We realized, in consensus with the family, that there was nowhere else to look.”

Hoffman said the searchers knew going into the second day of searching it would have been a miracle to find Pickard.

“Anything we say is speculation as there was a lot of new snow between when he was seen on the ski hill, when he went missing and the overnight between the second day of the search,” Hoffman said. “A lot of factors go into the decision to end a search, and the decision came in consultation with the family. Bart was on the mountain, he was there and this is a small community – this isn’t a faceless nameless person, and we had a good deal of resources up there searching.”

Hoffman said he is hoping someone will come across Pickard’s equipment to point to “some other point to reconnoiter.”

“What we are hoping for is something sticking out of the snow that will give us the ability to recover him before spring,” Hoffman said. “Lost Trail continues to carry out their day-to-day duties and continues to look. Knowing what we knew about his skiing habits, we covered that mountain top to bottom. There’s a lot in a search mission, and that information doesn’t go public.”

Lost Trail owner Judy Grasser said new snow won’t help.

“It snowed and there is a foot and a half of fresh snow on top of what everyone looked at last week,” Grasser said.

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com.

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Reporter at The Ravalli Republic