ConocoPhillips president Jim Bowles perished in an avalanche Saturday, according to Alaska State Troopers. Another from his snowmobiling party is still missing, and weather conditions have made the search difficult.
Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said they recovered his body near Spencer Glacier at 12:30 pm AKST. The deadly Kenai Peninsula avalanche was along the West Ridge of Grandview near Spencer Glacier, roughly a half mile from Mile 43 of the Alaska Railroad tracks between Girdwood and Seward, according to the Seattle Times.
Peters stated that CPR was administered to Bowles, but to no avail.
He was out snowmobiling with his friends at the time of the avalanche. Alan Gage, 39, part of Bowles’ party, is feared to have been buried in the avalanche.
Bowles was 57 years old, and served as the head of Alaska operations for ConocoPhillips.
As reported by CNN, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell issued a statement in the wake of his death: “Jim brought so much to our state: his love of the great outdoors, his leadership of ConocoPhillips Alaska, and his dedication to making Alaska a better place for all of us to call home.”
According to The Seattle Times, ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said Bowles headed Conoco Phillips Alaska since November 2004 and oversaw approximately 900 employees in the state. “He was a great leader for our company… Our deepest sympathies go out to his family,” she added.
As for the search for Alan Gage, inclement weather is hindering search efforts. Gage wasn’t wearing an avalanche beacon; however, Bowles was found with one. No search took place Sunday, but emergency officials say a search will ensue when weather conditions improve.
This time of year is very conducive to avalanches. Warmer weather makes the snow pack looser, and is especially more likely on steeper slopes. Forecaster Carl Skustad from the Chugach National Forest’s Avalanche Information Center said the snowmobilers were in moderate terrain, with roughly a 35-40 degree slope. However, the lower layer was weakeer, and that made the snow looser.
The Seattle Times also reported that experts warned conditions are very conducive to avalanches with a recent snowfall and high winds.