This incident at Big Sky Resort, Montana, is both unusual and remarkable. On December 15, 2023, the ski patrol reported two separate avalanches in closed terrain. Intriguingly, one of these slides appears to have been inadvertently triggered by a goat. Amazingly, this goat was carried the full length of the avalanche, over a distance of 1,000 feet and through rocky terrain. Remarkably, it emerged from this perilous journey unscathed.

The evidence collected by the patrol paints a vivid picture of the event. Goat tracks were seen leading into the crown area of the avalanche and later exiting the debris pile at the bottom. Impressively, there were no signs of injury, such as blood or broken limbs, suggesting the goat was remarkably lucky to escape without harm.

The patrol’s detailed description of the goat’s journey through the avalanche is a testament to the resilience and hardiness of these animals. The fact that the goat managed to travel such a distance and through challenging conditions, only to walk away apparently unharmed, is nothing short of miraculous. This incident also underscores the unpredictable nature of avalanches and the importance of respecting closed areas in mountainous terrain for safety.

“Further investigation of the avalanche yesterday showed goat tracks leading into the crown area of the avalanche. At the debris pile, it was obvious that a goat had taken the full ride in the slide that it triggered. There was a depression in the debris pile where the critter had come to rest at the surface, and obvious hoof prints trailing away from the debris pile, and then upslope for the long walk back up to rejoin the herd. There was no blood, and the tracks looked usual, with no obvious sign of broken leg(s). It is unknown if the goat was wearing an airbag or if it was deployed in the avalanche. It was a significant ride, 1K’ vt., 1⁄4 mile linear, likely of high speed, through 2nd Dictator transition, which was taken down to mostly bare ground.”

– Big Sky Resort patrol