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Skier Killed in Avalanche in Unstable Alaska Mountains

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Authorities on Sunday afternoon identified a man who died after he and a companion were buried in an avalanche in Alaska's Rainbow Mountains. The body of the man, Eric Peterson, 35, of Delta Junction, still hadn't been recovered Sunday because of the dangerous conditions, the Division of Alaska State Troopers said, but his companion, identified as Michael Hopper, 63, owner of the Black Rapids Lodge, was being treated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital after he managed to dig himself out of the snow, locate his friend and flag down help.

State troopers said Hopper reported that he and Peterson were skiing in a badly unstable area that was deteriorating because of heavy snowfall when they heard a loud "whoomp" and were buried under snow cascading from about 20 feet above them Saturday. Hopper said it took him two to three hours to dig himself out, and then he located Peterson's gloves and discovered his companion dead.

Hopper's condition wasn't reported.

—M. Alex Johnson

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