Utah Man Killed in Park City Backcountry Avalanche Was Alone and Without Avalanche Gear

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Raymond M. Tauszik, 42. Credit: Facebook

The snowboarder who died in an avalanche in Utah on Sunday has been identified by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office as 45-year-old Raymond ‘Matt’ Tauszik of Salt Lake City, UT. According to Greg Gagne, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC), Tauszik was alone and not wearing any avalanche gear.

Tauszik was snowboarding when he accidentally triggered the 3-feet-deep and 100-feet-wide slide, according to UAC. He left Canyons Village of Park City through the backcountry exit gate at the top of the 9,990-feet lift to Dutch Draw. When Tauszik was part of the way down, near the Conehead area of the slope, he triggered the avalanche and was caught up in the onslaught of snow that ended up killing him, the UAC’s report said.

Another group of snowboarders came across his equipment, realized it was attached to a person, and began digging. Officials believe that it is likely he was buried between 25 and 45 minutes before people came across his board and tried to rescue him. After digging him out and attempting life-saving procedures, he was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

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Credit: UAC

Dutch Draw is “steep, rocky, avalanche-prone terrain” which has been the site of other avalanche fatalities, including one in February 2012. On the day of the accident, a forecast for the day issued by UAC rated the avalanche danger as “considerable”, advising that the terrain be avoided.

“While this incident was in the backcountry, once you exit the gates of a resort, you are in the backcountry even if it is very close or near the resort,” UAC Executive Director Chad Brackelsberg told CNN. “Anybody who is recreating in the backcountry is recommended to have their avalanche rescue gear, a beacon, shovel, and probe, and that they know how to use it.”

Matt Tauszik was the executive chef for Marriott Salt Lake City University Park.

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