A group of three were skiing in the Silver Fork drainage of Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Meadow Chutes area on Friday January 26. This avalanche occurred on their 6th run in the area. They had already skied El Rollo once, and the Football Field twice, in addition to other runs. The skier sustained injuries but is expected to have a full recovery…
Utah Avalanche Center Report:
A party of two ran into a mutual friend that was travelling solo. They decided to join as a group of three. They were skiing in the Silver Fork drainage of Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Meadow Chutes area on Friday January 26. This avalanche occurred on their 6th run in the area. They had already skied El Rollo once, and the Football Field twice, in addition to other runs.
None of them had skied the actual section that avalanched. They skied just to the south (or skier’s right) of the area that avalanched (see the image below). Skier 1 and Skier 2 descended and stopped in the runout zone of the area that subsequently avalanched (the red X’s mark their approximate location in the image below). The avalanche released while Skier 3 was descending, and first noticed it, and yelled “avalanche!” Skier 1 heard the warning, and quickly moved approximately 10 feet to the north, and avoided being caught. Skier 2, who was taking a photo, was not able to move out of the way and was caught by the descending avalanche. He was carried 600 vertical feet and found on the surface of the debris with his head down hill. The total distance the avalanche ran was a 1000 vertical feet down.
This avalanche was remotely triggered which means no one was on the part of the slope that actually avalanched. Skier 3 was skiing to the side of it and Skiers 2 and 3 stationary underneath it.
At the time, the severity of the avalanche and the consequential terrain below led them to think that Skier 2 must have been killed. Skier 1 and Skier 3 pulled out their beacons and started searching below. As Skier 3 descended through a steep 45-50 degree slope with bent-over aspens he yelled to Skier 2 who responded. Skier 2 was injured severely enough that they could not self evacuate and called for help.
The first people to arrive on scene were Solitude Ski Patrollers operating under Wasatch Backcountry Rescue. They hiked into Silver Fork on foot. A LifeFlight Helicopter landed on the avalanche debris and delivered Skier 2 to the medical clinic at Solitude where he was transferred to an ambulance and driven to a hospital. Skiers 1 and 3 skied out.
- First image – Location of skiers and avalanche. (it can be found on the Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Map)
- Second image – Is where Skier 2 was approximately standing and where he was later found face down on the surface of the debris.
- Third image – LifeFlight arriving at Solitude with Skier 2.
The avalanche danger for the day was rated CONSIDERABLE. link found HERE.
4 thoughts on “VIDEO: Avalanche Near Solitude Ski Resort, UT Severly Injured An Experienced Bakcountry Skier On Friday”
nice one effu ! can’t wait to dig you out!
Subsequently skiing that slope with considerable avy danger and not digging a pit on that aspect doesn’t qualify to be called experienced bc skier!
Did anyone bother to dig a pit that day on that aspect?