Skiers Call 911 For Each Other After Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT Avalanche

Chris Wallner | BackcountryBackcountry | AvalancheAvalanche
Little Cottonwood Canyon. PC: The Travis Home
Little Cottonwood Canyon. PC: The Travis Home

According to Fox 13, two skiers were separated after an avalanche occurred in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Monday night. The avalanche occurred above Alta and Snowbird in an area called the “Birthday Chute.” The run was not blocked off due to avalanche risk or any other dangerous factors. When the avalanche occurred, one friend was caught above the slide and another below. They both called 911 fearing that the other was trapped under the snow.

“We’re very lucky that this is not a recovery operation tonight. The initial word was we had somebody buried,” said Lt. Manfred Lassig with Unified Police Department.

Utah avalanche. Image: UPR
Utah avalanche. Image: UPR

When the police were called, they were able to locate both victims by pinpointing the location of their calls using gps systems. The skier on top of the slide had to rescued by a helicopter, while the skier below the slide was able to get down on his own. While this story had a happy ending, it could’ve been a lot worse. Thankfully, both skiers were safe and reunited after the incident. Just remember to stay safe out there by checking the forecasts, bring essential avalanche equipment, and learning backcountry safety.

“People who go up in the canyons going back into the back country need to know what they’re getting themselves into,” Lt. Lassig said.

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4 thoughts on “Skiers Call 911 For Each Other After Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT Avalanche

  1. what is fox 13 talking about? If it’s backcountry, it’s not a ‘run’ and it would never be closed (“blocked off”) by any authority for “dangerous factors”. that statement really muddies the waters.

    1. Yeah, I’d love to ski backcountry safely but I live in the northeast and have a ways to go to get use to skiing western resorts before I attempt that. I rely on the resorts to make sure everything inbounds is safe because I am not prepared for avalanche danger. Am I correct in thinking that ski patrol does everything it can to make open inbound areas safe so that resort skiers like me don’t have to worry about avalanches, or is that still something I should concern myself with?

      1. Tim, I would be “concerned” about in-bound avalanches – they are rare, BUT be “aware” that they do occur. I know a few years ago a skier died on a marked run at Snowbird and I am sure there have been a few more over the years.

      2. IMO, ski backcountry safely is an oxymoron. unless you live to ski back country and devote your life to learning how to do it, there is no doing it safely in fresh deep powder. none. nada.

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