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Two backcountry skiers were killed in an avalanche in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah. The men, ages 23 and 32, were buried by the snowslide in the area of Lone Peak in the Wasatch Range. The avalanche was triggered while the men were climbing up a ridge on a slope called Big Willow Aprons. One of the climbers was able to dig himself out and call for help, but the other two were swept away and buried. The first climber was rescued by mid-day Thursday, but recovery efforts for the other two were delayed due to weather conditions and the difficult terrain.

The search crews successfully uncovered the bodies of the two victims on Friday and were preparing to bring them off the mountain via helicopter. The area had experienced heavy snowfall and strong winds in the days leading up to the avalanche. Lone Peak, where the avalanche occurred, is known for its steep and rugged terrain, making it a popular destination for advanced backcountry skiers and climbers. Craig Gordon with the Utah Avalanche Center described the area as very serious terrain that would require experienced individuals to navigate safely. The men involved in the incident were confirmed to be experienced skiers.

The deaths of these two skiers bring the total number of avalanche deaths in the U.S. this winter to 15, according to the Utah Avalanche Information Center. On average, about 30 people die in avalanches each year in the United States. The victims’ family members were present at the search staging area near Sandy as recovery efforts were underway. The avalanche that swept the skiers was about 2 feet deep and 250 feet across, sliding down approximately 500 feet. The tragic incident serves as a reminder of the dangers that can come with backcountry skiing and climbing in challenging terrain.

The Utah Avalanche Center issued a report detailing the events that led to the avalanche, explaining that the slide was unintentionally triggered while the men were climbing. The first climber was partially buried and was able to dig himself out and call for help. The other two climbers were swept away and buried, leading to their tragic deaths. Despite the risks involved in backcountry skiing, Lone Peak remains a popular destination for experienced outdoor enthusiasts due to its challenging and rewarding terrain. The recovery efforts for the victims were complicated by the weather conditions and the difficult nature of the terrain.

The search and recovery efforts were carried out by dedicated search crews who risked their own safety to locate and recover the bodies of the two victims. The victims’ family members were provided with support and assistance throughout the process. The tragic incident serves as a sobering reminder of the risks that come with backcountry skiing and the importance of proper preparation and experience when venturing into challenging terrain. The deaths of these two skiers are a part of a larger trend of avalanche fatalities in the United States, highlighting the need for continued awareness and education surrounding avalanche safety and prevention. The community mourns the loss of these two individuals and the impact of their deaths serves as a reminder of the unpredictable and dangerous nature of avalanches in the backcountry.

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