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World-renowned Utah photographer severely injured in backcountry photoshoot crash

By Alex Cabrero, KSL TV | Posted - Feb. 26, 2020 at 7:42 a.m.

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PROVO — A Utah photographer, whose work is featured in the Salt Lake City International Airport, was severely injured during a backcountry photoshoot in Utah County.

Louis Arevalo loves everything about Utah’s outdoors, making a career out of photographing it.

“He does outdoor photography, outdoor adventure, skiing, biking climbing,” said his wife, Jacki Arevalo. “He’ a remarkable guy.”

Many of his photos are in the Salt Lake City International Airport along the moving walkway between Terminals 1 and 2.

Last week, he and a friend were doing a photoshoot in the mountains above Mapleton in Utah County.

However, while skiing in the backcountry, his foot came out of one of his ski bindings and he lost control.

“He tumbled several times building speed. I guess maybe because of the weight of the pack with all of his photography gear, and he hit a tree,” Arevalo said.

That impact broke his neck, his back and several other bones, as well as the type of injuries many people don’t come back from.

“He basically scalped himself. So, umm, that was off,” said his wife while motioning to the top of her head.

Fortunately, the friend Arevalo was with is trained in outdoor survival.

He kept Arevalo alive until a rescue helicopter could take him to the hospital.

That’s where Jacki Arevalo first saw him after the crash.

“There were nine people surrounding him, doing various tasks to keep him alive,” she said.

Arevalo credited doctors at Utah Valley Hospital for saving her husband’s life, though life might not ever be the same for him.

“Their thought is he’s probably not going to regain use of his legs, which is really hard,” she said.

Several of their friends have already been to the hospital to ask how they could help. Some have even started working on the Arevalos’ Salt Lake City home to make it more accessible.

“That has been such a help. He really loves his outdoor friends,” Jacki Arevalo said.

It's going to change a lot of things, but not necessarily who we are or who he is.

–Jacki Arevalo

Things may be different going forward, but he’s alive.

“It’s remarkable. We’re so lucky. He is very lucky to still be alive,” Arevalo said.

Plus, her husband’s love for the outdoors isn’t going to stop.

“It’s going to change a lot of things, but not necessarily who we are or who he is,” she said. “Maybe instead of a surf vacation, we go in kayaks.”

The family also lives near the National Ability Center, which leads Arevalo to believe her husband will be skiing at this time next year.

Differently, yes, but still skiing.

“I don’t doubt it at all,” she said.


Alex Cabrero

KSL Weather Forecast