Crews rescue skier from avalanche in Provo Canyon

Jan 20, 2023, 7:27 PM | Updated: 10:18 pm

PROVO, Utah — Crews rescued a backcountry skier in Provo Canyon Friday after he was injured in an avalanche while backcountry skiing near Sundance Mountain Resort.

The 26-year-old skier was skiing near Aspen Grove and the Stewart Falls trailhead. It’s a popular area for skiing and snowshoeing and it’s easy to see why with the amount of snow it’s received this season.

“Oh, this winter is epic. I’ve never seen this much snow in this parking lot,” Suzanne Storer said.

Deputies renew warning to steer clear of Bridal Veil Falls avalanche area

“Usually, we wear micro-spikes on our shoes. But this definitely is a snowshoe winter.”

Storer has been coming to the area for years. Before visiting, she always checks conditions and avalanche risk so she knows what areas to avoid.

“People need to be aware of where they’re going and what the risks are,” she said.

Even when you’re experienced and know what to expect, the backcountry can be dangerous. But skiers said avalanche risk on Friday was low to moderate.

Still, earlier in the day, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office got a call for help from a skier who said his knee was injured in an avalanche. Crews weren’t sure how big the avalanche was but said no one got stuck in it.

“Yeah, you should always expect it. Anytime you go into the backcountry with really any amount of snow, you should definitely have your head on a swivel,” Jeff Rose said.

Rose is an advanced EMT for the Sheriff’s search and rescue team. He was one of several crew members to jump on a snowmobile and side-by-side and head up the steep terrain to the skier at Bob’s Knob.

“The powder gets deep. There were s

Rose said the 26-year-old skier was in good spirits. He declined medical treatment but said he couldn’t get down the mountain on his own. Rose and others helped him into the side-by-side with tracks and drove him down to the parking area.

“Its all about returning home safely and that’s what we want,” he said.

“Just be careful where you’re skiing in the out of bounds area, especially in this season when there’s this much snowfall,” said Lt. Erik Knutzen, who oversees emergency services at the Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re obviously very concerned with avalanches. This area they do a lot of really good avalanche control but they can’t hit every mountain where they suspect it could be.”

Rose said they see a lot of recreationalists who come in to hike and ski “who are very unaware. They feel like they’re safe because they’re on a trail but the terrain all around them is very avalanche prone.”

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Crews rescue skier from avalanche in Provo Canyon