Trooper Steve Houle of the Washington State Patrol was riding snowmobiles in the Cascades Monday when he was struck by an avalanche. (Photo: WSP) -

Trooper Steve Houle of the Washington State Patrol was riding snowmobiles in the Cascades Monday when he was struck by an avalanche. (Photo: WSP)

A veteran of the Washington State Patrol was killed during an avalanche in the Cascades Monday afternoon.

Trooper Steve Houle was riding snowmobiles with a friend in the French Cabin Creek area just before 1 p.m. when the avalanche occurred, according to the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office.

Both men were overtaken by the snow as it hit near the Knox Creek Trailhead. The friend was able to dig himself out and made his way back to the French Cabin Creek snopark to call for help. Search and rescue crews spent hours looking for Houle, eventually finding the 51-year-old trooper's body around 7 p.m.

Houle served 28 years with the State Patrol, all in Kittitas County. He had most recently been assigned to the Commercial Vehicle Division, KATU reports.

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