Weekend avalanche injury underscores skiers' risks

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:31 AM

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — A 41-year-old skier buried up to his neck Sunday in an avalanche underscored the danger of the adventure sought by hundreds every weekend in the Wasatch mountains east of Salt Lake City.

So far this winter, avalanches have trapped 25 people and killed two young brothers snowmobiling near Heber City, according to the Utah Avalanche Center.

Snowpack conditions change every year, and last year was a particularly deadly year for avalanches, mainly because of sparse and weak layers of snow. Eight skiers or snowmobilers were killed by slides — double the average for Utah — and 124 people were trapped. Experts say a thin, sugary snowpack can make for more deadly slides than deeper, consolidated snow.

Snow accumulation has been more stable this winter, with Alta ski area in Little Cottonwood Canyon recording 275 inches so far.

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