A Montana State University student who was skiing in Hyalite Canyon was found dead early this morning.

Nathaniel “Alex” Wright, 20, an MSU student from Alaska, was skiing alone in the History Rock area of Hyalite Canyon and was supposed to be home by 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4, according to a press release issued by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office. When Wright did not return, his girlfriend called 911 at around 10:45 p.m.

Temperatures overnight in Hyalite were in the single digits above zero. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded with snowmobiles and backcountry skiers and used night vision from Reach Medical Helicopter. At about 6:30 a.m., rescuers located Wright deceased. He was off the trail well north of History rock near Hyalite Creek.

The exact cause of death is being investigated.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin extends his condolences to family and friends.

“Sometimes we let the closeness of the backcountry in Gallatin County lull us into a false sense of safety. You may be able to see town but you really are in the back country and if something goes wrong it can turn tragic. In this case it appears he had an equipment malfunction which led to a cascade of events ending in his death,” Gootkin said in a press release.

The sheriff’s department reminds people to be prepared to stay out overnight, take a partner and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

Photo courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.