January 18th, 2021 / Tags:avalanche accident
, Park City Ski Resort
, Risk Discussion
, ski area
/ Categories: Accidents
, avalanche accidents
, ski area
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The second avalanche death in two years in Dutch Draw, and at least the fourth in total, has spurred an Avalanche Risk Discussion.
The victim and his girlfriend exited the backcountry access gate atop the Ninety-Nine 90 Express. Then they hiked up the ridge before dropping in to snowboard down a run called Conehead. The victim went first, and when he was about halfway down his girlfriend followed. Then an avalanche occurred. The woman was not caught in the slide.
Some people have argued more should be done to warn skiers who may be unaware of the dangers posed by backcountry terrain. They could put resort personnel near the gate to inform people of the risk. Or require checking out with ski patrol and carrying an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. A check-out procedure is used at some other resorts.
An avalanche south of Cooke City carried three skiers down Republic Mountain, two were injured in the avalanche. One had to be evacuated by helicopter and another was temporarily unconscious and not breathing, according to a report.
In many ways, the skiers had done everything right. All six were carrying beacons and had rescue gear. They had radios to summons help.
However, they did not check the snowpack in the place they decided to ascend the mountain. They had dug a snowpit 2 meters deep to check the likelihood of an avalanche. But a hundred feet off to the side the snowpack changed, with much less snow, only three feet.
An Elko, Nevada, snowmobiler died in a Wyoming avalanche on Friday. It is estimated that he was buried inverted under the snow for about 15 minutes.
Brandon Jones, 41, was snowmobiling away from his party late on Dec. 18 on “Suicide Mountain”. He triggered a medium-sized avalanche 24" deep. He was able to deploy an airbag, which kept him near the snow surface with a leg sticking out.
An avalanche swept a snowboarder into a tree on Tuesday afternoon. It happened on Snodgrass Mountain near Crested Butte. The snowboarder was on a split board.
While there have been several media worthy avalanche accidents already this season the official fatality list shows none in the US so far.
Avalanche risk is already present in Colorado despite the lack of early season snow. According to a user-submitted report to the Colorado Avalanche Center a skier was caught in a human-caused avalanche burial on Monday near Marble, Colorado.
An avalanche accident killed one skier in Switzerland. Authorities in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden said one off-piste skier among a group of five people was killed after getting caught in an avalanche Monday in the Titlis area, south of Lucerne. Rescue teams were not able to resuscitate the 23-year-old Swiss citizen after he was rescued.