Police report two skiers killed in Utah avalanche; one survivor manages to dig himself out

According to the Unified Police Department of Salt Lake City, an avalanche on Utah’s Lone Peak resulted in the tragic deaths of two skiers on Thursday. Additionally, a third skier was hospitalized as a result of the incident.

According to the police, it is believed that the skiers were buried by an avalanche in the backcountry.

According to Sgt. Aymee Race, the authorities have identified the deceased victims as two men, aged 32 and 23 years old. The police recovered their bodies on Friday morning.

According to police, the skiers were making their way up a slope known as the Big Willow Aprons. They had transitioned from skiing to boot packing and were in the vicinity of the summit when the avalanche took place.

According to Race, the skier who was in the hospital was receiving treatment for minor injuries. He managed to free himself from the snow and tried to rescue his two friends before eventually calling for help.

Authorities stated that search and rescue professionals have been unable to reach the accident site due to dangerous avalanche conditions.

Recovery efforts on the mountain were temporarily halted on Thursday afternoon as snowfall resumed, according to the police. The Utah Avalanche Center informed ABC News that the recovery operation will remain suspended until Friday.

According to Craig Gordon from the Utah Avalanche Center, large and dangerous avalanches are uncommon during this time of the ski season. This is because the warmth during the daytime helps to stabilize the snowpack.

According to Gordon, the weather conditions took a drastic turn when a recent storm dumped around 30 inches of snow. This sudden change significantly increased the danger level in the area. Gordon also pointed out that the steep and technical terrain on the north side of Lone Peak made the rescue operations even more challenging.

Earlier in the day, Alta Ski Area informed ABC News that they had sent a ski patroller and an avalanche rescue dog to aid in the search and rescue operation.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, there have been a total of 15 avalanche fatalities in the United States during the 2023-2024 season, which includes the two tragic deaths from the recent accident on Thursday.

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