Four People Killed In Millcreek Canyon Avalanche; Four Rescued

Feb 6, 2021, 12:39 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2021, 6:27 pm

MILLCREEK, Utah — Four people were confirmed dead after they were overcome by an avalanche in Millcreek Canyon, according to the Unified Police Department.

Police said the avalanche occurred in the Wilson Glade area Saturday afternoon.

A total of eight people — who were all equipped with beacons — were involved, according to UPD, but only four survived.

Those individuals were able to dig themselves out of the snow and locate the other skiers.

“Today’s been a tough day,” said Wayne Bassham, commander for Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue.

Officials learned the skiers were actually in two separate groups — one had five, while the other had three — and they didn’t know each other.

More than 40 Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office SAR volunteer members and Wasatch Back Search and Rescue from Solitude and Brighton spent hours battling dangerous conditions to search for the survivors.

Rescue teams also included support from DPS helicopter and Intermountain Healthcare’s Life Flight, which sent three medical aircraft and crews.

“This is a really tragic situation,” said Bassham.

Because of dangerous conditions, rescuers had to be flown in.

“We had to have a hoist operation because we could not, at the time, land a helicopter safely in that area,” said the Commander.

That’s when rescuers realized there was a second group that got caught in the avalanche.

“We had two groups of individuals — one group from Big Cottonwood, one group from Millcreek,” said Bassham. “Apparently, they did not know each other; they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The skiers in both groups had beacons, but when the avalanche hit, only four survived.

“They unburied themselves, then unburied their friends,” said UPD Sgt. Melody Cutler.

Rescue teams focused on getting the survivors off the mountain — one suffered from hypothermia.  But with nightfall, recovery efforts for the four victims will resume in the morning.

“It was a beautiful day, absolutely beautiful day — sun was shining, pretty warm out — and I’m sure that’s why these people were out, just enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather; they thought they would go out for a great ski and have it end in a tragedy like this,” said Cutler.

The skiers are said to be between 23 and 38 years of age.

It appears there were two survivors from the group of three skiers, and two survivors from the group of five.

Officials said they are not sure how the avalanche was triggered.



An avalanche warning was issued by the Utah Avalanche Center for northern Utah’s backcountry and is expected to last through Sunday morning.

Forecasters said there were large natural avalanches overnight, and human-triggered and more natural avalanches are likely throughout the weekend.

A UAC observer said there was a human-triggered avalanche in the Alexander Basin on Friday that was 3 feet deep and 500 feet wide. The skier who triggered the slide was not carried by the avalanche.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The crowd gathering at Washington Square to march to the Utah Capitol....
Brittany Tait

Crowd marched to Utah State Capitol in solidary with Iran

A large crowd marched from Washington Square to the steps of the Utah State Capitol on Saturday to show solidarity for those suffering in Iran.
1 day ago
Attendees at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center....
Michael Houck & Ladd Egan

Day One of 192nd Semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tens of thousands gathered in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday for the 192nd Semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1 day ago
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints volunteers help clean up and repair the aftermath of Hurricane Ia...
Mike Anderson

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members help clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Ian

"As horrible as natural disasters are, you see the best of humanity," Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members gather in Florida to help clean up the mess Hurricane Ian left behind.
1 day ago
Denali Stubbs, preparing his bike for the upcoming race....
Alex Cabrero

Hildale high school bike team participates in regional race

"I just want to do the same for these kids:” a Hillside parent hopes to encourage teens in his community to dream bigger by getting involved in sports.
1 day ago
Authorities responding to the fatal rollover crash. (UDOT)...
Michael Houck

Two dead after pickup truck crashes into ravine near I-215

Authorities are investigating a rollover crash that killed two of its occupants on I-215 near 1000 South Saturday afternoon. 
1 day ago
President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual Gene...
Josh Ellis

President Nelson addresses using chair during conference talk

President Russell M. Nelson took to social media after Latter-day Saints noticed he used a chair to deliver his remarks during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Four People Killed In Millcreek Canyon Avalanche; Four Rescued