PARK CITY, Utah — The Park City Mountain Canyons Ski Patrol closed off its access to the backcountry adjacent to the resort. The unusual step was taken after a couple of recent deadly slides amid high avalanche danger. Prior to a couple of recent fatal avalanches there had been numerous others in past years as well.
A 31-year-old man died after being buried in an avalanche while skiing in the adjacent backcountry. He accessed it via special gates at Park City Mountain. More recently, a U of U helicopter responded to rescue two skiers. One was buried in an avalanche and died. They also accessed the backcountry via Park City Mountain.
According to Utah.gov, “avalanches pose a significant hazard in Utah’s mountains between the months of January and April. These are seasons of heavy snow accumulation and unstable snowpack conditions.”
“An avalanche is a mass of snow, ice, and debris that slides rapidly down steep mountain slopes at speeds up to 80 mph when triggered by ground shaking, sound, or movement,” the official website stated.
Park City Mountain responds to avalanche danger
Ski resorts around Utah are taking action to protect local winter enthusiasts.
Park City Mountain announced that resort management had directed the Canyons Ski Patrol to close off access to its adjacent backcountry areas. Skiers and snowboarders frequently access these areas from the resort.
The resort posted signs at backcountry access points, restricting access. The sign reads, “Backcountry gates closed pending meeting between PC resort management and U.S. Forest Service.”
Due to the two deaths in January, the resort closed access to the backcountry from inbounds “until further notice.” Resort officials plan to meet with the U.S. Forest Service Thursday.