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Man buried in avalanche rescued quickly thanks to beacon

By Marjorie Cortez | Posted - Feb. 3, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.

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BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — A 36-year-old man briefly buried in an avalanche in a west bowl of Silver Fork Canyon Sunday was quickly rescued by fellow skiers Sunday afternoon.

"He's up and walking and is actually coming out on his own power," said Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department.

Police said he was able to ski down the mountain himself and left in a truck after giving a short interview with officers.

Hoyal said it was not yet known how long the man had been buried in the snow. He was wearing an avalanche beacon, which enabled about 10 other people to locate him and dig him out of the slide. The avalanche triggered shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday.

The man was among three different groups that were back-country skiing in the area, Hoyle said. The man had apparently begun his day skiiing at Alta before skiing over the summit to Silver Fork Canyon, Hoyle said.

Todd, Glew, a friend and ski guide who helped save the man said he used a beacon to locate the man. The used a pole to probe the snow and found home on the first strike. He said his face and hands were blue when they pulled him out.

Hoyal said there were physicians on the mountain with one group of skiers that were able to check out the skier.

The incident was another reminder of being aware of conditions and carrying the proper equipment, a shovel, probe and wearing an avalanche beacon, he said.

"Any time you go in the back country be extremely careful of the avalanche conditions. This gentleman was very lucky he had people there that were trained and could get him out."

Contributing: Sandra Yi

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