Utah surgeon killed after 100-foot fall while skiing at Solitude

Feb 4, 2022, 2:37 PM | Updated: 6:42 pm

SOLITUDE, Utah — A 38-year-old Cottonwood Heights transplant surgeon was killed after skiing off a cliff in an “expert only” area of Solitude Mountain Resort.

His death has left the Intermountain Healthcare and Utah transplant community in disbelief and mourning.

Melody Cutler with Unified Police Department confirmed the death Friday and said someone on a chair lift witnessed Andrew Gagnon fall from a 100-foot cliff and then slide an estimated 500 to 600 feet further through rocks and trees.

Gagnon was with his wife when the two separated and he ventured into the Ortovox Chute off Evergreen Peak, according to the resort, that said he slid off a cliff at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Solitude Mountain Resort (Google Earth Pro)

Unified Fire Department and the resort’s ski patrol responded. Cutler said the patrol and fire crews attempted life saving measures, but Gagnon was pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m. Officials said he was wearing a ski helmet.

Gagnon worked for the Intermountain Healthcare Transplant Program, and is credited with saving hundreds of lives as well as helping grow the program.

“He was a rare gem of a human being. He was a fantastic surgeon. He was always friendly — it didn’t matter if it was 3 p.m. or 3 a.m.,” said Dr. David Morris, a colleague of Dr. Gagnon’s and the associate medical director of General Surgery at Intermountain Healthcare.

Morris said he operated with Gagnon on several difficult and challenging cases, and that Gagnon was humble, friendly, and easy to work with.

Patients, colleagues, and everyone in the operating room all loved Dr. Gagnon, Morris said.

“There are literally hundreds of people walking around who would not be alive if not for his work,” Morris said.

Gagnon did extremely challenging work, Morris said, because transplant surgeons are called to operate whenever donor organs become available. This means operations take place during the day as well as in the middle of the night, and sometimes several days in a row.

“His work is just critical for our community and critical for our hospital system. Then, just the fact that he just leaves behind a young family, is just absolutely tragic,” Morris said. “And we just want them to know that as a surgical group and as a hospital community, we send our best and send our love to them.”

Intermountain Healthcare released the following statement about Dr. Gagnon’s passing:

“All of us at Intermountain Healthcare and Canyon Surgical Associates are deeply saddened about the tragic passing of Andrew I. Gagnon, MD, following a ski-related accident on Thursday.

Dr. Gagnon was a wonderful transplant surgeon, outdoor enthusiast, and lived for his family, patients, and fellow caregivers.

Because of Dr. Gagnon’s surgical talents, he was instrumental in growing the Intermountain Healthcare Transplant Services program and in doing so saved hundreds of lives. Dr. Gagnon always said he loved living in Utah, loved what he was doing, and his patients often noted his kindness and compassion.

The Intermountain Healthcare transplant family and entire transplant community in Utah will miss Dr. Gagnon and will honor his wonderful and lasting legacy.

–– Dr. Diane AlonsoIntermountain Healthcare Transplant Program

– Dr. Ivan ZendejasCanyon Surgical Associates Transplant Surgeon”

A GoFundMe* page has been set up to help Dr. Gagnon’s wife and three young children.

*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.
KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Three men are facing federal charges for allegedly robbing a postal carrier at gunpoint and taking ...
Brooke Williams

Man arrested after lengthy search, one still wanted

A 22-year-old man was arrested early Sunday after fleeing from a traffic stop.
16 hours ago
A West Valley police car. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)...
Brooke Williams

Two dead after crashing into parked truck

Two died in a crash in West Valley.
16 hours ago
Keith Jensen's Christmas home lit up by all the festive lights. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Millcreek man lights up neighborhood with the face of Santa

Millcreek man is spreading Christmas cheer through tens of thousands of lights all around his home.
2 days ago
FILE PHOTO: The Chickadee lift is pictured at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Oct...
Michael Houck and Brooke Williams

Avalanche triggered at Snowbird resort, no injuries reported

Rescue crews responded to the Snowbird Ski Resort after an avalanche was triggered on a trail. 
2 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Lehi Police Department/Facebook)...
Michael Houck

Lehi building placed on ‘lock down’ after reports of man with a gun

A misunderstanding caused a building to be placed in "lock down" after reports of a man with a gun Tuesday.
2 days ago
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Price man arrested in woman’s 2019 death now being called a murder

A Price man has been arrested for investigation of murder in connection with the shooting death of a woman in 2019 in Carbon County that was once considered an accidental shooting.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
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: Take this quiz 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.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
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.
Utah surgeon killed after 100-foot fall while skiing at Solitude