PARK CITY, Utah. — A fatal avalanche incident Saturday, January 30th in the Square Top area outside of the resort boundaries at Park City Mountain Canyons Village claimed a local skier’s life. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 57-year-old Kurt Damschroder of Park City.
Damschroder was skiing with a friend when the avalanche was triggered and he was caught in the slide. Damschroder’s friend called for help, located him with the help of an avalanche beacon, and attempted lifesaving efforts for more than an hour. Given the extreme avalanche danger, rescuers were unable to get to the area and the friend was forced to leave for his own safety.
This morning at 7:00 am, Summit County Search and Rescue resumed its recovery operation, assisted by the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter. After a series of avalanche mitigation efforts triggered several more slides, emergency personnel began their search and ultimately recovered the victim’s body mid-morning.
The video shows the avalanche control work being done to safely access the accident site.
Saturday’s avalanche was one of more than 17 reported backcountry avalanche events yesterday. Cami Richardson of Kamas, a retired ski industry executive who works part-time at Canyons, said of the Square Top slide, “I have been skiing here for 23 years and never saw an avalanche this bad.”
This incident marks the second of two fatal avalanches in the Park City backcountry in just three weeks. On Jan. 8th, a snowboarder was caught and buried in a fatal avalanche outside the gates of Park City Mountain Resort in the Dutch Draw Area.
Ski patrols also reported large class 2 avalanches triggered with explosives. The UAC shared the following video highlighting several incidents: