The bodies of 2 skiers were found by search crews

The Independent

SANDY, Utah — Search crews on Friday recovered the bodies of two backcountry skiers who were swept away and buried by an avalanche in the mountains outside Salt Lake City a day earlier, officials said.
Search teams uncovered the men’s bodies Friday morning, Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said.
The bodies were brought off the mountain via helicopter and taken to the medical examiner’s office, Sgt.
Aymee Race with the Unified Police Salt Lake City said.
“And that instantly ramped up the avalanche danger,” said Craig Gordon, an avalanche forecaster with the U.S. Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.
Family members of the two victims were at the search staging area near Sandy on Thursday and Friday, Rivera said.
The snow broke about 2 feet (61 centimeters) deep and 250 feet (76 meter) across and slid down about 500 feet (152 meters), the avalanche center said.
The fatalities bring this winter’s tally of avalanche deaths in the U.S. to 15, according to the Utah Avalanche Information Center.

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SANDY, Utah— According to authorities, search teams found the bodies of two backcountry skiers on Friday who were buried alive after being carried away by an avalanche in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City the day before.

The men, who were killed in the snowslide on Thursday morning in the Wasatch Range southeast of the city, were ages 23 and 32. Their names are still unknown.

According to Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, search teams found the men’s bodies early on Friday morning. After being removed from the mountain by helicopter and brought to the medical examiner’s office, Sgt. said Aymee Race of Salt Lake City’s Unified Police.

Heavy, wet snow up to three feet (1 meter) thick and strong winds were brought to the area by storms on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

“And that increased the avalanche risk right away,” avalanche forecaster Craig Gordon of the U.S. s. Forest Service Avalanche Center in Utah.

It’s spring, and weather patterns and systems can change very quickly in the mountains, he added, which further complicated the weather and snow conditions. Before clouds, snow, or strong winds arrive, a day may begin bright and clear.

In addition, Gordon stated on Friday, “all of these factors can escalate the danger of an avalanche and influence the dynamic nature of the snowpack.”.

The avalanche center stated in its preliminary report that the three men were near the top of a slope known as Big Willow Aprons, where they were climbing up a ridge, when the slide was inadvertently set off.

The first ascenter was partially buried after being carried downhill on the ridge’s right side. The other two, according to the center, were swept away and buried on the left side of the ridge.

After rescuing himself, the first climber managed to make a help call. By Thursday noon, he was saved, but the other two men could not be saved due to the snow and weather.

Alan Bergstrom, one of the eight rescuers who retrieved the bodies, said, “We know that’s hard on the families when you have to leave somebody up there.”.

According to Rivera, family members of the two victims were present at the search staging area close to Sandy on Thursday and Friday.

According to Bergstrom, a squad leader for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team, “there are situations like today where we may know the people that are on the mountain,” which makes the recovery effort challenging for searchers as well.

“They were able to dig pretty quickly, get ’em out, and get back on the helicopters,” Bergstrom reported of the crews. The winds, however, were increasing as we were wrapping up, and the helicopter was beginning to struggle with determining where to land. “.

The men were friends, and while they had not intended to ski down the face where the avalanche happened, Gordon said they had planned to ski on Thursday in a number of different places.

According to the avalanche center, the snow broke off at a depth of roughly 2 feet (61 centimeters) and a width of about 250 feet (76 meters). It then fell approximately 500 feet (152 meters).

One of the highest peaks in the Wasatch Range, Lone Peak towers over Utah’s capital city and is the location of the avalanche. In the warmer months, experienced climbers scale its sheer granite walls, while advanced backcountry skiers frequent the area for its rugged, steep terrain.

“This is very dangerous ground. It is incline-able. The face of it faces north. Gordon remarked on Thursday that the crew up there would need to have a lot of experience.

Rivera attested to the men’s expertise as skiers.

The dead raise the total number of avalanche deaths in the United States for this winter. s. 15 degrees, as stated by the Utah Avalanche Information Center. An average of thirty individuals per year in the U.S. perish in avalanches. S.

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