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​Park City Backcountry Avalanche Kills Snowboarder

An avalanche buried and killed a 31-year-old snowboarder traveling in the backcountry outside Park City Mountain Resort today, Friday, January 8. According to reports from local law enforcement, a massive rescue operation was mobilized in the Dutch Draw area outside the resort, following an emergency call placed by the victim's girlfriend who watched the slide occur. Dutch Draw is a zone that frequently avalanches. Tragically, the man did not survive the burial, and was found by an avalanche dog this afternoon, buried under two feet of debris. It is unclear whether he was carrying avalanche gear. Last season, a snowboarder was killed in an avalanche in the same area. Today’s avalanche rating in the Wasatch was Considerable. 

The Utah Avalanche Center has been warning backcountry travelers for weeks about the weak snowpack structure, with this morning’s report reading:

“If you are leaving the ski area through an exit gate, you are entering the backcountry and likely stepping into a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Previous tracks are zero indication of stability. If you are skiing or riding alone, you have no margin of safety with no one to perform a rescue. There have been several close calls/near misses this past week and I am fearful our luck has run out. Fortunately, excellent riding conditions exist on low-angled slopes other than due south.”

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