Utah skier buried in Big Cottonwood avalanche, rescued by friends


The video captures the slide where he thinks he can “ski”.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A sign letting skiers and river boarders know their avalanche signals are on and active before entering the North Fork Trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. A skier was rescued from a slide in the canyon Friday.

A skier escaped unharmed after being buried during a wild ride in Friday’s avalanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon, the Utah Avalanche Center reported, thanks to the swift action of friends. his skiing, the Utah Avalanche Center reported.

After reaching the top of a ridge at Silver Fork, the skier was the third in his group to descend an eastbound path known as “El Rollo” in the Meadow Chutes when it snowed and brought the skier goes a short distance, according to a report is posted on the center’s website. The burial has been started videotapes accompanying the report.

With the late arrival of heavy snow in northern Utah, the risk of avalanches has increased. The center describes it as “significant” on Wasatch.

“Today there is an accident written all over it,” wrote forecaster Drew Hardesty in Saturday’s forecast with all capital letters. The human-activated slides that are hundreds of feet across and 2 to 4 feet deep are “likely” on slopes facing northwest to east, according to the forecast.

“Avalanches can be triggered from a distance, even hundreds of feet,” warns Hardesty. “Can also cause wind blows and new avalanches in the high-altitude bands.”

As of Saturday night, there were no avalanche reports posted on the center website devoted to such reports. Friday’s accident was one of seven avalanches reported by skiers that day to the avalanche center. All are in Mill Creek and Big Cottonwood canyons.

In their report, forecasters thanked the saved skier, identified only as Jon, for reporting the crash, providing them with the full account and sharing a video clip of him. arrested.

“This information could save a life tomorrow,” wrote forecaster Trent Meisenheimer. The skier has been skiing touring the avalanche terrain for 20 years without being buried – until Friday.

The group of three skiers toured Meadows Chutes on Thursday and returned the next day to continue enjoying the famous snow in central Wasatch. At the top of El Rollo, they experienced collapse in the snow and ice, a sign of instability deep below the surface.

“Even though they knew the collapse was a bad sign, they continued with their plan. As soon as they started deep skiing, they reported that they were just thinking about how good the skiing was,” the report said. “Jon had experience in the area but forgot how steep this stretch is.”

About a third of the track, its pitch suddenly changed. That’s when Jon was running, a slab of rock about 18 inches deep and 100 feet across broke off.

“About two to three turns later, I found my left periphery was broken,” the skier told the center. “I checked the right side and found it spread all over my right side. I thought I could slide all the way down, but when I got to the bottom half of the slope, I got caught in some trees and tripped. ”

The moving snow pulled him through the small trees and left him completely buried, but close enough to the surface that he could punch a hole to let in daylight.

“I cleared a hole for air and started trying to free myself,” he said. “Because my foot was so deep and there was a ski still attached, I couldn’t get out.”

Jon’s two companions reattached their climbing skins to the base of the skateboard and began searching for the missing man. They found him within 10 minutes and dug him out. The skier was unharmed but scratched and needed no outside help. Utah skier buried in Big Cottonwood avalanche, rescued by friends

Yasmin Harisha

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