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18 years ago, survivor of a deadly avalanche lost three friends

Dec 30, 2021, 7:50 AM | Updated: 8:04 am

avalanche friends...

Close knit group of friends broken up after an avalanche took the lives of three. Photo: KSL TV

UTAH COUNTY — The survivor of a deadly avalanche in Utah County is still healing after losing his three friends. Matt Long offers a message of caution to those backcountry skiers and snowboarders who could fall victim to a similar fate. 

KSL TV’s Andrew Adams spoke to Matt Long, 18 years after an incident that remains firm in his memory. 

Long was snowboarding with a group of friends on Dec. 26, 2003, in an area outside of Sundance Mountain Resort near Aspen Grove. The group was planning for a final run.

Long told KSL TV, “Right about when we got to the mouth of the chute… I looked up and saw a 50-foot wall of white. Scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life! The noise was unreal.”

Long was able to dig himself out of the first avalanche and make his way to a group of trees. There, he braced himself as avalanche after avalanche came down.

When the fourth one finally ended, I was up to my armpits with how I was holding myself. By the grace of God, I was able to scoop snow away.

When the last avalanche passed, Long attempted to find his friends and placed a call to 911. However, search and rescue was not able to save two of Long’s friends.


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18 years ago, survivor of a deadly avalanche lost three friends