Skier Dies In Park City Backcountry Avalanche; Body Recovered
Jan 31, 2021, 9:55 AM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 4:16 pm
PARK CITY, Utah – The body of a long-time Park City resident has been recovered after he was buried in a backcountry avalanche in Park City Saturday afternoon.
The victim was identified as 57-year-old Kurt Damschroder.
Officials said he was buried in about four or five feet of snow in the “Square Top” area near the Park City Mountain Canyons Village.
“This is an area known to be very deadly,” said Lt. Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “If someone gets in the area and triggers an avalanche, it’s usually not a great outcome.”
His body was dug out by search and rescue crews around 11 a.m. Sunday.
Authorities said Damschroder was out with a friend on what was supposed to be their last run, but the friend didn’t feel comfortable and stayed behind.
“The friend watched Kurt go down the Square Top area,” said Wright. “Unfortunately watched the avalanche get triggered.”
He was carried “several hundred yards” down the mountain, according to Wright, after he was swept up in the fast-moving snow.
The friend was quickly able to locate Damschroder through his beacon and dig him out.
“He did life-saving efforts for more than an hour until finally, he had to get out of the area,” said Wright.
#HappeningNow– @SummitCountySO expected to give an update on rescue/recovery efforts from yesterday's avalanche near Snow Top in Park City. Chopper 5 tracked their efforts this morning. Details at 4:30 @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/IkDpgAHwdo
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) January 31, 2021
Search and rescue operations also had to be paused overnight due to the dangerous conditions.
“It is a dangerous avalanche zone,” said Lt. Andrew Wright. “The plan was to use the Utah Department of Public safety and use their hoist team to get into the area; unfortunately, it started to get dark, so we had to pull out for the night.”
Crews resumed rescue operations around 7 a.m. Sunday.
The Park City Fire District shared photos of the rescue efforts, posting a warning to Facebook to “use extreme caution when entering the backcountry.”
A helicopter from the Utah Department of Public Safety assisted in the operations, according to Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez.
We resumed #avalanche operations this morning at 7:00am. Our friends from @UtahDPS are assisting us with their helicopter. We are attempting to make the area safe so personnel can get into the burial site. Updates will be given when new information is available. #summitcounty pic.twitter.com/vG2yLYdaWT
— Sheriff Justin (@SummitCountySO) January 31, 2021