La Center graduate dies in Montana avalanche


A 21-year-old Clark County native died in an avalanche in Montana on New Year’s Eve, authorities reported.

On Dec. 31, the U.S. Forest Service reported a snowmobiler was killed in a “very large avalanche” near Cooke City, Montana that day. The snowmobiler was identified as Wyatt Oden Coiteux, a La Center High School graduate, in a release by the business owned by his parents, RPM Northwest.

Coiteux and his younger brother were snowmobiling uphill near Daisy Pass on Crown Butte at close to 10,000 feet of elevation, the Forest Service report stated. Coiteux was on a steep slope that triggered the avalanche which carried him 600 vertical feet and buried him 5 feet deep.

Coiteux’s airbag pack did not deploy, and both him and his brother carried shovels and probes though were not wearing avalanche beacons, the Forest Service reported. 

Within minutes, a nearby group of riders approached the slide and saw a buried snowmobile, according to reports. The group then searched for Coiteux as one member of the group went into Cooke City to alert search and rescue.

Coiteux was located with a probe line about an hour after the avalanche, the Forest Service reported. He could not be revived by CPR and an AED at the site.

The avalanche was estimated to be between 2 and 4 feet, according to the forest service.

Coiteux was “an avid motorsports enthusiast,” according to the RPM Northwest release. It stated he took on much of the automotive interest of his father, Sean, and had taken up amateur stock car racing as one of his many motor-driven pursuits.