A local man died Saturday afternoon when his snowmobile was hit by an avalanche high in the Elkhorn Mountains.

Richard Delbert Stephens, 33, of the North Powder area, was trapped in the snow slide, Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash said.

Ash said Stephens and three others were riding snowmobiles in the upper parts of the Rock Creek drainage when the avalanche happened, trapping Stephens.

None of the other three riders, who were friends or relatives of Stephens, was hurt, Ash said.

Baker County Dispatch received a call about the accident at 6:04 p.m.

Ash, who was attending the Baker County Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, said he immediately mobilized a Search and Rescue team.

Ash said Stephens' companions brought his body down from the mountains.

A service for Stephens will take place Saturday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. in the old gymnasium at North Powder School.

A Rick Stephens Memorial Fund has also been set up through U.S. Bank. People can make donations at any U.S. Bank branch.

The Wallowa Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning for the Elkhorn Mountains for "very dangerous avalanche conditions" due to heavy snow and strong winds.

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