PARK CITY, Utah — Canyons Ski Patrol at Park City Mountain took the unusual step of closing off access to the backcountry adjacent to the resort, after a couple of recent deadly slides amid high avalanche danger.
In Park City, a 31-year-old man died after being buried in an avalanche while skiing in the backcountry. More recently, a U of U helicopter went to Park City to rescue two skiers buried in an avalanche; one of them died.
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 website stated.
Avalanches in Utah have claimed over 100 lives between 1958 and 2021. Craig Gordon with the Utah Avalanche Center stated our snowpack this year is unusually thin, which contributes to the danger.
Park City Mountain responds to avalanche danger
Ski resorts around Utah are taking action to protect local winter enthusiasts.
Tuesday, Park City Mountain announced resort management directed the Canyons Ski Patrol to close off access to its adjacent backcountry areas, which skiers and snowboarders frequently access from the resort.
According to Town Lift, 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, Town Lift reported.
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