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2 skiers dead, 1 rescued after avalanche on Lone Peak

The party of three skiers were experienced and equipped with all the proper backcountry gear. Avalanche conditions were highly dangerous after a recent storm dropped nearly three feet of snow in the area accompanied by high winds.

This article was updated at 4:20 p.m.

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah – Two skiers have been found dead, and one man has been rescued, after an avalanche Thursday in the area of Lone Peak Summit near Little Cottonwood Canyon.

While the skiers who died were not identified by name, their ages were 32 years old and 23 years old. Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said one man was from Utah, and the other was from out of state.

The bodies of the skiers remain on the mountain. Rescue personnel hope to bring them down when weather conditions improve Friday. Rivera said it took the backcountry skiers five hours to reach the location where they were skiing in the Big Willow area of Lone Peak.

Utah Avalanche Center’s Craig Gordon, speaking to press at the park on Wasatch Boulevard where the rescue was staged, said the terrain the men were skiing and the effort it took take to get there suggested the skiers were competent and experienced. Rivera said the men were equipped with avalanche beacons.

The man who was rescued and brought to a staging area at a park off Wasatch Boulevard was able to walk to an ambulance after being flown in a helicopter hoist from the mountain rescue area. He was able to dig himself out of the avalanche that partly buried him. The man called 911 and he attempted to locate the other 2 men.

The slide occurred Thursday morning and search and rescue operations began following reports of an avalanche with three missing skiers and a dog near Lone Peak in the Big Willow area in Little Cottonwoon Canyon.

The Unified Fire Authority confirmed the reports at 10:37 a.m. Thursday.

The news comes after a recent storm with high winds and heavy snowfall, in excess of three feet in the upper elevations of the Cottonwoods. Conditions would have created dangerous avalanche conditions.

The party of three skiers approached the Big Willow area from the S curve in the road near the bottom of SR-210. The peak is located about five miles west of Snowbird on the south side of SR-210.

Lone Peak is situated south of SR-210 about five miles west of Snowbird ski resort. TownLift photo

The US Forest Service and Wasatch Backcountry Rescue were also assisting in the rescue operation and helicopters were sent in.

The last avalanche fatality was on April 17, 2023 at Brighton, according to a Utah Avalanche Center record.

This is a developing story and it will be updated.

 

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