Authorities ID 2 men who died in Oregon avalanche

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have released the names of a backcountry ski guide and his client who died in an Eastern Oregon avalanche.

The Baker County Sheriff's Office says 23-year-old guide Jake Merrill, from Bellingham, Wash., and 30-year-old Shane Coulter, of Seattle, died Tuesday when the avalanche struck a group of six skiers and two guides in the southern part of the Wallowa Mountains.

Two other skiers suffered broken legs: 60-year-old Susan Polizzi, of Wenatchee, Wash., and 40-year-old Bruno Bachinger, of Snohomish, Wash. They were taken to a Washington hospital after it took rescuers all day Wednesday to get to them.

Avalanche risk has been high in the West. The deaths brought to 12 the number of people who have died in avalanches nationally this season, including six in the West since Sunday.

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