We had a tragedy near my area, in Northern Idaho. Please contact me if you think this page is inappropriate in any way. My condolences to the families.
PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - A snowmobiler from Spokane, Wash., and a backcountry skier were killed
in separate avalanches north of Sandpoint.
Tim Parnow, of Sandpoint, was buried while backcountry skiing around 11:30 a.m. Saturday with
friends near Keokee Lake, northwest of Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Ninety minutes later and 10
miles to the north, Patrick Kopczynski, of Spokane, was struck by an avalanche while riding a
snowmobile in Echo Bowl near Priest Lake.
Parnow and five friends had skied into the Caribou Hut on Friday. A popular backcountry ski
destination, the hut is between Mount Casey and Keokee Lake.
On Saturday, the group was skiing somewhere in the area of Keokee Lake when Parnow was caught
by an avalanche, friend Chris Bier said. Bier was not on the trip, but is friends with members
of the group.
“These are extremely experienced skiers,” Bier said. “They had done all the testing. It was
The group was well equipped for a backcountry emergency with avalanche beacons and shovels.
The group was also able to use cell phones to call for help.
“Big Sky Paramedics was called directly by someone on a cell phone,” said Sgt. Bob Howard,
supervisor of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Services Unit.
A helicopter arrived and took Parnow to the Bonner General Hospital where he was later
In the Echo Bowl avalanche, Kopczynski was one of hundreds of snowmobilers in the bowl
on Saturday, Howard said.
Several drivers were doing what is called “high marking,” racing up the steep banks of
the snow wall to see who can go the highest before turning to descend, Howard said.
Kopczynski of Spokane, Washington, was struck by an
avalanche while riding a snowmobile in Echo Bowl near Priest Lake.
Kopczynski, four other snowmobilers and his five-year-old son were caught when snowmobiles
above them apparently triggered an avalanche.
When Kopczynski was uncovered he was already dead. Rescuers were able to pull the rest of
the snowmobilers safely out of the snow.
Kopczynski leaves behind four children and a wife. If you would like to help his family,
an account is set up at the Bank of America Opportunity branch
12816 E Sprague Ave
Spokane WA 99216