“We are heartened by the outcome of this incident, and glad it was not any worse. Thank you to the many different organizations for pooling resources so quickly and working with us to perform this rescue.” –Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue
Rescue officials have provided details of the rescue of a pair of skiers who were caught and carried in a pair of avalanches in Big Cottonwood Canyon Saturday afternoon, with one losing consciousness and having to be rescued.
FOX13 reports 8 people in a “guided party” were skiing down East Bowl in the Silver Fork area around 12:30 p.m. when the slide occurred. The first skier in the group triggered the avalanche and was caught, carried and buried. None of the others were caught.
The skier (a man in his 50s) was buried for an estimated 15-23 minutes until other members of his group were able locate him and dig him out. He was unconscious but breathing when he was pulled out.
A LifeFlight helicopter hoisted the man from the mountain to State Route 190 where he was then transferred into a second LifeFlight helicopter and taken to a hospital.
The Utah Avalanche Center reported that another skier was caught in an avalanche Saturday just two miles away and was partially buried. The skier did not need to be rescued.
Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Report:
SAR CALLOUT # 010 – Avalanche up Silverfork, BCC
Incident Date: 03.12.2022
Description of Incident:
The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team was called out at approximately 12:30 on Saturday, March 12th. The brief report from the 911 call stated that a guided party of 8 had been skiing down the East Bowl in Silver Fork, BCC; when the first skier in the group triggered an avalanche in a gully off of the East Bowl. WBR (Wasatch Backcountry Rescue) Teams from Solitude, Brighton, and Snowbird were spun-up immediately, with SLCO SAR, UPD, and Solitude Ski Patrol running a unified command from the road, next to Silver Fork Lodge. Given the proximity of the incident to Solitude Ski Resort, the WBR Patrollers were first on scene. Relaying back to SAR command, the WBR Patrollers reported that there indeed had been one single burial, and no other victims in the avalanche. SAR command was also informed that the patient had been under the snow anywhere from 15-23 minutes, dug up, recovered by his party, and the patient was unconscious but breathing. Given the nature of the injuries and patient status, two Life Flight helicopters were deployed and responded within 20 minutes of the 911 call. The LF helicopters arrived on scene, one with a hoist and one without. The hoist-ship collected the patient from the scene and brought him to the road side where he was transferred off of the hoist to the second Life Flight helicopter, which was already on the ground, and flown to IMC. All parties involved are now off the mountain.
This story may be revised as more details present themselves. To stay informed on current conditions and the forthcoming accident report, be sure to check out the Utah Avalanche Center. Go to https://utahavalanchecenter.org/ or follow @utavy on Instagram & Facebook for more information.