Snowboarder With No Avalanche Gear Dies in Utah Avalanche Today

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A 21-year-old male snowboarder with no avalanche equipment died in an avalanche in Hells Canyon (near Snowbasin ski resort), Utah today.  The avalanche occurred at 8,700-feet, slid 1,500-vertical-feet, was 2-3 feet deep, and he was buried 3 feet deep.  27″ of new snow had recently fallen in the Snowbasin area.

The deceased snowboarder was located by avalanche dog.

Avalanche danger was rated as “Moderate” at the time if this avalanche.

Utah Avalanche Center Report:

“Two people entered Hells Canyon.  Hells Canyon is an out-of-bounds area beyond Snowbasin’s boundary.  After a few turns, the two decided to cut back and return into the area.  The first person, a snowboarder, triggered a slide and was caught.  Preliminary information is the slide was about 2-3 feet deep, and fairly narrow, and triggered in a steep, shallow rock area.  The path is a confined gully.  He was carried to the bottom and buried about 3 feet deep.  He was not wearing a beacon, and found by a dog search. Significant trauma is suspected.  Hell’s Canyons has had a shallow, faceted snowpack much of the season.” – Utah Avalanche Center


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8 thoughts on “Snowboarder With No Avalanche Gear Dies in Utah Avalanche Today

  1. I don’t think whether he was wearing a beacon or not is pertinent information. It disrespects the boarder to mention it. As if he didn’t care about his life.

    1. Disrespect? Articles with all of the details of these situations spreads awareness that you should not be skiing/riding out of bounds without gear and knowledge. Respect is FAR from the point here.

      1. you do realize that most people killed in avalanches have lots of “gear and knowledge”. doesn’t seem to do a damn bit of good. you seem to think you know why he died and it’s that false “awareness” you want to spread. and you are “FAR” from safe thinking that way.

  2. I did a little digging into three other deaths in the same exact area in 2010, 2007 and 2005. In ALL of the cases the riders did not have beacons. It looks like people “dip” into this area because it’s just past the boundary so they think it’s safe. Also in one of the cases the skier apparently got lost and ended up in that terrain by accident.

    I’m a huge fan of personal responsibility but I wonder if perhaps some systems level thinking could help solve this issue. Perhaps an expansion of the Snowbasin ski area boundary (or the area being avalanche controlled) to the north of no name could help prevent future deaths in this area? This is just a crazy pattern looking for a solution…

    1. That is out of bounds terrain..period. And very dangerous out of bounds terrain that is marked pretty well. If the area is to be expanded, that would entail more money for more patrollers, bombs, etc. The time to open all of Hell’s would severely and negatively effect the time No Name and possibly portions of Lower JP open.

      Bottom line…personal responsibility like you said.

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