Snowboarder Dies After Being Buried in Avalanche He Accidentally Triggered

A snowboarder was killed after being buried in an avalanche he had unintentionally triggered in Utah.

The Utah Avalanche Center said the 45-year-old man had left the Canyons Village ski resort in Park City, Utah, via a backcountry exit gate at the top of the 9990 lift to access Dutch Draw on Sunday.

As he headed down the slope, he "unintentionally triggered" an avalanche in steep and rocky terrain. "Part of the way down the slope (Conehead area of Dutch Draw), he triggered and was caught, carried and killed in an avalanche," the center said.

KPCW reported the avalanche was triggered shortly before 11 a.m. It caused a 3 feet deep and 100 feet wide slide, according to the center.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office said officials worked at the scene of the avalanche to dig out the snowboarder and performed lifesaving measures, but the man died.

We are currently working a backcountry avalanche near the ski resort with one confirmed burial. The single snowboarder has been dug out. Life saving efforts are in progress. This is NOT in the ski resort. More details to follow.

— Sheriff Justin (@SummitCountySO) December 15, 2019

Sad Update - A 45 year old man from Salt Lake City has died after being buried in a backcountry avalanche. We offer our sincere condolences to the family. #backcountry #avalanche

— Sheriff Justin (@SummitCountySO) December 15, 2019

"We are currently working a backcountry avalanche near the ski resort with one confirmed burial. The single snowboarder has been dug out. Life saving efforts are in progress. This is NOT in the ski resort. More details to follow," Sheriff Justin Martinez wrote on Twitter Sunday.

In an update, he added: "A 45 year old man from Salt Lake City has died after being buried in a backcountry avalanche. We offer our sincere condolences to the family."

The Utah Avalanche Center said it will investigate at the scene on Monday with the help of avalanche experts from Park City and Canyons resorts.

The center said there was a "considerable" risk of avalanches in the Salt Lake area on the day of the accident following a powerful storm that affected the terrain near the site of the accident.

During the storm, avalanche professionals working at ski areas along the Park City Ridgeline triggered "numerous new snow and older snow avalanches in similar terrain" between Thursday and Saturday, the center said.

The avalanche forecast for Sunday advised people to avoid "steep northwest to easterly facing terrain at the mid and upper elevations" as that was where the risk of an avalanche was "most pronounced."

The Conehead area of Dutch Draw is prone to avalanches, the center added, and was the scene of another fatality in February 2012. In that incident, a 24-year-old snowboarder, Timothy Robert Baker, died in an avalanche he triggered, according to the center.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office and Canyons Village have been contacted for additional comment.

Utah avalanche
A 45-year-old snowboarder died after being buried in an avalanche he unintentionally triggered in Park City, Utah, on Sunday. Utah Avalanche Center