OUTDOORS + RECREATION

One injured in skier-triggered avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Feb 12, 2024, 1:00 PM

Snow covers the mountains during an early season snowstorm in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday,...

FILE - Snow covers the mountains during an early season snowstorm in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A skier-triggered avalanche injured a skier in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday. 

The Utah Avalanche Center website displays reports for 24 avalanches that occurred this weekend. However, the center told KSL TV that nearly 40 avalanches were reported this weekend. Humans triggered many of them. 

According to the Utah Avalanche Center, the skier-triggered avalanche happened on south-facing terrain between Lisa Falls and Jepson’s Folley. 

Witnesses saw the skier triggered avalanche 

A witness said they were skiing with a group when they saw the avalanche, per a report on the UAC’s website. They group saw it happen from the east ridge of Broads Fork Twin Peaks. 

According to the witness’ comments, the injured skier had “followed the track that [their] group of three set to the col between Sunrise Peak and BF Twins,” before the avalanche. A col is the lowest point between two peaks on a mountain.

The skier who wound up injured had never spoken with the groups about their plans.  

A witness said the skier traversed below the path of the group, and was skinning, or climbing up a steep mountainside when the avalanche began. 

The group of witnesses saw the victim during the avalanche, according to the report. 

When the avalanche stopped, one member of the group moved down the mountain to help the victim, per the UAC website.

The skier was able to see the victim and speak with them. The victim requested help and a witness called 911. Emergency responders rescued the injured skier via airlift. 

Persistent weak layers & avalanche

“I fell prey to the restlessness that comes from a long spell of poor snow then stubborn PWL,” said the victim, according to the report on the UAC’s website. 

PWL stands for persistent weak layer, according to UAC. The weak layer can collapse, triggering avalanches. 

Nikki Champion, an avalanche forecaster for UAC, told KSL TV that current conditions make human triggered avalanches likely. 

“It’s not like you’re going to trigger it on every single slope across the board. But, if you do trigger it it’s going to be like a really deep or really deadly … avalanche,” said Champion. 

Persistently weak layers are currently contributing to avalanche danger ratings, per the UAC. Danger ratings can be found on their website. 

Related: Ski safety tips to keep you on the slopes

 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Outdoors + Recreation

The front of the Holladay Lions salt lake county recreation center...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

The hidden cost of recreation centers

A new report shows that several recreation centers in Utah operate at a deficit in the millions. Part of covering that gap comes via taxes.

16 hours ago

An Outdoor Retailer sign is pictured outside of the Salt Palace Convention Center on Sunday. The ev...

Carter Williams

5 newer outdoor products on display as Outdoor Retailer returns to Utah

The Outdoor Retailer tradeshow brings together new or familiar companies from around the world, which gets new products into stores.

1 day ago

A brown sign reads "Red Ledges, Day use only, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fee required."...

Briana Chavez, KSL TV

Search and rescue crews faced difficult challenges in rescue of injured 16-year-old boy

A Utah County official said a group was climbing rocks in Red Ledges, a popular trail on Diamond Fork, when a boulder struck one of the hikers.

2 days ago

The blue waters of Coalville's Echo Reservoir meet the beige sand....

Adam Small

Nearly half of Utah reservoirs are 100% full

The Utah Division of Water Resources said that 20 of Utah's reservoirs are completely full.

2 days ago

While Bryce Canyon National Park is Utah's smallest national park, it still boasts an astounding co...

Grant Olsen

7 ways to enjoy Bryce Canyon as it enters its second century

Bryce Canyon National Park recently celebrated 100 years since it was designated as a national monument by President Warren G. Harding.

2 days ago

Washington Terrace Fire Department removing a storm drain lid to retrieve ducklings that had fallen...

Kennedy Camarena

Storm drain ducklings rescued by firefighters

Ducklings that fell into a storm drain in Washington Terrace were rescued by firefighters on Saturday after receiving a call to help.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

One injured in skier-triggered avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon