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CODY, Wyo. — A Billings man remains hospitalized here after he struck a tree while snowmobiling near Cooke City over the weekend.

The Park County, Mont., Sheriff’s Department declined to released the man’s name, saying only that the 68-year-old man was transported Saturday evening to West Park Hospital in Cody with facial injuries and possible back injuries.

Kay Whittle, a member of the Cooke City emergency response and search and rescue team, said the man was snowmobiling in the Henderson area near the Lulu Trail when he ran into a tree.

“I don’t know if he was climbing the hill and turned out or came down, but there was a lot of damage to the sled,” Whittle said.

“He center punched the tree and hit it head on. He was ejected off the sled and into the tree.”

Whittle said the man was wearing a helmet.

The accident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. Yellowstone National Park dispatch advised Livingston emergency dispatchers of the crash.

Whittle said the victim was transported about seven miles by medical sled to the Pilot Creek parking area to meet an ambulance dispatched from Cody.

“It’s much quicker to go to Cody,” Whittle said. “We use them all the time when we have accidents.

“It’s rare that we’d ever go to Livingston.”

Recent avalanches killed one snowmobiler and one cross-country skier in Cooke City-area slides, Whittle said.

“The avalanches were terrible, but this was our first snowmobile accident,” Whittle said. “We had a couple broken backs last winter. The year will tell.

“You don’t have any control over what kind decisions they’re making when they’re out riding.”

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