Snowboarder Killed in Backcountry Avalanche Just Outside Park City

utah avalanche
One of several warning signs mark the boundary of The Canyons ski resort and backcountry, outside Park City, Utah.Photo: Douglas C Pizac/AP/Shutterstock

On Sunday, a 45-year-old Salt Lake City man was caught and killed by an avalanche that he unintentionally triggered while snowboarding in the Utah backcountry adjacent to Park City Mountain Resort.

According to the Utah Avalanche Center, he had left the Canyons Village side of Park City Mountain Resort via the backcountry exit gate at the top of the Ninety-Nine 90 Express, leading into the neighboring Wasatch National Forest. Accessing a steep and rocky section along the Park City ridgeline known as Dutch Draw, the snowboarder was partially down the slope when he triggered the slide. He was buried in a 100-foot-wide, 3-foot-deep pile of snow.

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The Summit Count Sheriff’s Office stated that the incident did not occur within the expansive ski resort’s boundaries.

The Conehead area of Dutch Draw is known for having significant avalanche danger, states the UAC. The last death in the area due to an avalanche occurred in 2012.

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The UAC reported that the weather on the day of the incident was mostly cloudy with light winds. After a heavy Pacific storm dropped 18 inches of snow on the Wasatch Mountains on Friday and Saturday, by Sunday the avalanche danger rating was reduced from HIGH to CONSIDERABLE.

“A CONSIDERABLE DANGER exists on many mid and upper elevation slopes,” stated the Bottom Line of the avalanche forecast. “The danger is most pronounced on steep northwest to easterly facing terrain at the mid and upper elevations. In this terrain, human triggered slides may step down 3-4′ deep and hundreds of feet wide. This terrain is to be avoided.”

As of Monday morning, UAC Staff, as well as Park City and Canyons resort avalanche professionals, were investigating the scene.

On Tuesday the Utah Avalanche Center released the full report. The details are outlined in the video below:

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