LOCAL NEWS

Snowbasin skier death raises safety concerns for out-of-bounds skiing

Feb 14, 2024, 6:19 PM | Updated: Feb 16, 2024, 5:48 pm

HUNTSVILLE — First responders are pleading for skiers to stay within a ski resort’s boundaries or be better prepared if they exit the resort’s safety zone.

“Especially when you’re at it at a resort, and you duck rope lines, and you go outside of those boundary lines, you’re seriously taking a risk,” said Jared Taylor, prevention division chief with the Weber Fire District.

Taylor said his district has been to several calls involving backcountry skiers getting hurt when they leave the resort’s boundaries.

“The snow does not discriminate,” he said.

And the snow didn’t on Monday, as a 49-year-old man was found by Snowbasin’s Ski Patrol after he fell about 100 feet. The man was transported to a hospital by helicopter in extremely critical condition and was unresponsive. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

A lone ski in the area that the skier was found and rescued from.

A lone ski in the area that the skier was found and rescued from. (Chopper 5)

Taylor said getting rescue crews into areas like this is risky for them, also. It’s one of the reasons for the boundaries and the rules of the mountain.

“(The resort) usually pulls (skiers) passes for ducking those rope lines and going outside of their ski area boundary because when you purchase that pass, you’re agreeing to stay within bounds and abide by the rules of that mountain,” Taylor said.

Craig Gordon with the U.S. Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center said if people still want to go out of bounds, then they need to buddy up and get the right gear.

“You’ve got to have a solid partner or solid group that you’re traveling with. You got to have people that got you back,” Gordon said.

Gordon said it’s important to be ready for changing conditions in the backcountry and make sure people know when you’ll be out and when you expect to be back.

“At the very minimum, knowing the lay of the land and being prepared with avalanche transceivers, shovels and probes,” he said.

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Snowbasin skier death raises safety concerns for out-of-bounds skiing