Denali National Park employee dies in avalanche while skiing

Alaska’s Denali National Park has confirmed that one of its employees was killed by an avalanche last Thursday while skiing inside the park.

Eric Walter, a senior dispatcher, was backcountry skiing near Mile 10 on the Park Road when he triggered the avalanche that claimed his life.

A park news release states that a witness reported seeing a lone skier trigger an avalanche on an unnamed slope in the area.

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A rescue team was dispatched and a ranger with a spotting scope saw two skis – one vertical and the other flat – and an orange bag in the avalanche debris field.

“Upon reaching the scene it was determined that the skier had died,” the park explained. “The skier was later identified to be Eric.”

The park elaborated Wednesday via Facebook:

“Eric was a skilled outdoorsman and a beloved member of the Denali family and our hearts are broken.

“Because Eric was a senior dispatcher with the Alaska Region Communications Center, where he provided radio-based safety and support services for park employees across the state, his warm and comforting voice was known to many hundreds of NPS employees who never met him in person.”

A memorial service is planned for today (May 11) at 5 p.m. at the Denali Sled Dog Kennels. The accompanying image shows Eric with his adopted sled dog, Fin.

Story originally appeared on For The Win