On the Site:


45-Year-Old SLC Man Identified As Backcountry Avalanche Victim

Dec 16, 2019, 6:22 PM | Updated: 10:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A 45-year-old snowboarder who died in a backcountry avalanche has been identified as Matt Tauszik of Salt Lake City.

Tauszik died in an avalanche that he triggered on his snowboard shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday and officials with the Utah Avalanche Center are urging backcountry visitors to be cautious after the season’s first avalanche fatality.

“To go down that specific area, you have to have a certain level of skill,” said Lieutenant Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriffs Office.

Tauszik dropped into an area known as Dutch Draw, accessed through a backcountry gate at the top of Park City Mountain Resort’s 9990′ lift. The avalanche was three feet deep and 100 feet wide.

Skiers in that area saw the avalanche debris, and then Tauszik’s snowboard, and dug him out. They tried to save his life with CPR, but he died later at the hospital.

“The chances of triggering an avalanche after heavy snowfall like we’ve had is very high,” Wright said. “That’s why we always encourage people you have to follow the warnings from the Utah Avalanche Center.”

Tauszik was at the resort with his wife Michelle Schmitt, who is a communications worker in the office of Congressman Ben McAdams, and their son before he left to go on that run.

“At the initial part of the ridge, it’s not very steep. Sort of benign-looking,” said Mark Staples, director of the U.S. Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center. He and one of his avalanche forecasters went up to investigate the layers of snow this afternoon.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s all backcountry,” Staples said. “The snowpack is uncontrolled. There’s no work done on it by any ski patrol, and it doesn’t matter if you’re one foot from the rope line or a mile from the ski resort it’s all the same.”

Staples urged everyone heading into the backcountry to take a partner, the proper safety gear and knowledge of the conditions of the day.

The last two avalanche deaths in Dutch Draw were in February 2012 and 2005. All skiers and snowboarders approaching that gate are warned.

“There is a lot of signage up there warning people of the extreme danger associated going beyond that point, leaving the resort and going into the backcountry,” Wright said.

Congressman Ben McAdams’ office said it was grieving the loss and McAdams said in a statement on Monday that the family loved being outdoors together, particularly on the ski mountain.

“Our hearts are broken today, as we mourn with my Director of Digital Communications Michelle Schmitt and her son for the loss of their husband and father – Matt Tauszik, who was killed in this weekend’s avalanche.  Their family loved being outdoors together, particularly on the ski mountain. Michelle has worked for me in both the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office and now here in my Congressional office and is well known for her professional and talented work with local news media and digital communications.  We grieve Matt’s loss with her and will provide as much support as possible during this sad time.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(ATF Denver Field Division)...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Reward offered in Cedar City stolen firearms investigation

A reward is being offered in connection with a stolen firearms investigation in southern Utah.

3 hours ago

Kevin Franke and his attorneys walk into a conference room following a juvenile court hearing on Se...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Husband of YouTube vlogger Ruby Franke files for divorce

The husband of the popular "8 Passengers" YouTube channel vlogger has filed for divorce nearly three months after his wife Ruby Franke was charged with abusing their children.

6 hours ago

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A ...

Matt Gephardt

How you can avoid holiday debt despite the pressure to spend

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A last-minute office gift. But all this can quickly add up to a financial holiday hangover. And perhaps it’s one you’re still feeling from the last holiday season.

14 hours ago

The inversion as seen from Salt Lake City on Nov. 29, 2023. (Jack Grimm, KSL TV)...

Debbie Worthen and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

Utah leaders face uphill battle on clean air before 2034 Olympic Games

Part of Utah's agreement with IOC requires clean air for the Olympic Games in 2034 if Salt Lake is to host. Leaders have ambitious plans for the next decade in attempt to make it happen.

14 hours ago

A picture of Powder, the official Olympic mascot in 2002, who was played by Heather Mickey, picture...

Mary Culbertson and Andrew Adams, KSL TV

2002 Olympic mascot reflects on her time as Powder after big announcement

An official Olympic mascot looks back on her time during the Games in 2002, and talks about what excites her for 2034.

14 hours ago

American Preparatory Academy on Nov. 29 after it was evacuated for carbon monoxide fumes found in t...

Mary Culbertson and Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Potentially 45 preschoolers and 10 adults exposed to carbon monoxide at American Prep Academy

Five toddlers and five adults were taken to the hospital after being exposed to carbon monoxide at American Preparatory Academy.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

45-Year-Old SLC Man Identified As Backcountry Avalanche Victim