'Potent combination for disaster': Snow, floods clobber bikepacking race

Joshua Murdock

More than a dozen people competing in a cross-country bicycle race were rescued in Montana and southern British Columbia in recent days as unseasonable snow and rain drenched the region, soaking riders and increasing the risk of deadly hypothermia.

At least one rider, a 25-year-old from Wyoming, was rescued in Glacier National Park. Many others were rescued outside Fernie, British Columbia. The freak June snow also confounded a second long-distance bike race that had piled up dozens of participants on the border of Yellowstone National Park.

The 2022 Tour Divide bikepacking race, a 2,745-mile course mostly on dirt roads and trails, hews close to the Continental Divide from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The race began at 8 a.m. on June 10. Almost all of the event’s 186 entrants this year were riding in Montana or near Fernie, British Columbia, this past week when an atmospheric river dropped record amounts of rain and snow across the area. The precipitation was part of the same system that demolished large parts of Yellowstone National Park, Red Lodge, Paradise Valley and the Beartooth Highway. 

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