LOCAL NEWS

Backcountry On Alert Amid Increasing Avalanche Danger

Feb 12, 2021, 10:40 PM | Updated: 10:52 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — As many got their start Friday to a weekend in the outdoors, there was a heightened awareness to the potential avalanche hazard.

“It could happen to anyone,” acknowledged skier Terry Hottman, who headed into the backcountry of Big Cottonwood Canyon with 74-year-old wife, Carol.

Both came equipped with avalanche airbags, shovels, probes and beacons.

“We’ve come close but we’ve never been caught in one,” Carol said as the two unloaded their gear into their truck.

They realized not everyone had been as fortunate.

Last week, 4 people died when a massive avalanche in Millcreek Canyon swept away two groups of highly-experienced skiers.

“It was really sad,” Terry Hottman said.

This weekend, avalanche forecasters were urging those headed to the backcountry to be prepared and be careful ahead of increasing danger.

“We keep on adding layer after layer after layer and, man, the snowpack is just teetering on the balance,” said Craig Gordon, forecaster with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.

Gordon said with an unusually-shallow snowpack for the time of year, avalanche conditions have also been unusual.

“Any avalanche you trigger has the potential to break deep,” Gordon explained. “it has the potential to break wide, so it could take out the entire season’s snowpack and the result is going to be super, super devastating.”

He urged people not only to come prepared with beacons, shovels, probes and airbags, but to also come armed with the latest forecast.

“I think we should be aware of it, conscious, kind of educate yourself,” said Sehidi Bustillos, who was with friends in Big Cottonwood Canyon Friday afternoon.

The Hottmans said they’ll completely avoid the backcountry when the avalanche danger is too great.

“Yeah, avoid some of the real extreme stuff!” Terry Hottman said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott surprises Cache County drivers with free gas cards

It's time for another Free Gas Friday, and KSL TV's Casey Scott was spreading the love with drivers in Cache County this week.
15 hours ago
...
Karah Brackin

Ogden School District opens year with two new elementary schools

On Friday, over 10,000 students in the Ogden School District were back in classrooms across the city.
15 hours ago
(SLCPD)...
Josh Ellis

Teen arrested on suspicion of DUI after crashing into SLC police car, damaging another

A 17-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of DUI after officers said she crashed into two Salt Lake City police vehicles.
15 hours ago
Third District Judge Keith Kelly declined Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by transgender girls...
Josh Ellis

Judge grants injunction allowing transgender girls to compete in high school sports

A Third District Court judge has granted an injunction that halts enforcement of a new Utah law that bans transgender girls from competing in high school sports.
15 hours ago
...
Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

Location data cracks open police cases, but critics say there’s a cost to privacy

Utah police are using controversial search warrants to scoop up large dumps of digital data. They can be critical crime fighting tools, but privacy experts warn they're an unconstitutional abuse of technology.
2 days ago
...
Shelby Lofton

Spanish Fork man makes his own traffic safety signs to slow drivers near school

As school gets back in session, a Spanish Fork man is taking a different approach to encourage drivers to slow down.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Backcountry On Alert Amid Increasing Avalanche Danger