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These were the 10 most-read KSL.com articles of 2021

Friends, family, and the public gather to remember Tom Steinbrecher and Louis Holian, at the Gear Room in Cottonwood Heights on Feb. 14, following a snowstorm. The two skiers died in an avalanche recently in Millcreek Canyon.

Friends, family, and the public gather to remember Tom Steinbrecher and Louis Holian, at the Gear Room in Cottonwood Heights on Feb. 14, following a snowstorm. The two skiers died in an avalanche recently in Millcreek Canyon. (Annie Barker, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — News took a tumble this past year, from national to local levels.

But that wasn't much of a surprise following a record-breaking 2020. News media analyst Ken Doctor told the Associated Press that the decline was "entirely predictable" as television viewership and online readership returned to more traditional numbers.

The year was, in many ways, the beginning of the new normal. Mask mandates were lifted as COVID-19 vaccines arrived and went into Utahns' arms. About two-thirds of all Utahns have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, nearly all receiving it at some point this year.

There were no pandemic shutdowns. Children remained in the classroom and many people returned to work this year. Utah's unemployment rate has dropped back to the historic levels experienced before COVID-19.

We started this annual review of stories in 2016 to provide a review of the year through the lens of what you, the reader, found interesting during the year. As we look back at the news in 2021, COVID-19 topics fell to the wayside this year. Only one COVID-19 story landed in our annual review of the most-read KSL.com articles; as one may suspect, it was tied to access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

But natural emergencies, for the second straight year, topped our annual review of the most-read KSL.com articles. In a year dominated by drought, the top three most-read stories of 2021 were all emergencies tied to drought conditions in one way or another.

Crime and mystery stories — most-read regulars over the past few years — also returned this year, as did less-newsy stories that provided escapism from the difficult headlines Utahns encountered again in 2021.

These were the most-read KSL.com articles of 2021.


4 children, 4 adults killed in Millard County sandstorm crash

A sandstorm in Millard County caused multiple crashes on I-15 Sunday, July 25, leaving at least eight people dead and multiple others injured, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
A sandstorm in Millard County caused multiple crashes on I-15 Sunday, July 25, leaving at least eight people dead and multiple others injured, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. (Photo: Janice LeFevre)

Date published: July 25 (Updated July 26)

Page views: 652,974

Short synopsis: Eight people were killed in a pile-up crash on I-15 after an unusual sandstorm suddenly limited visibility for drivers. Note: This total is the number of two stories combined because the original article was updated in a subsequent article. Some of the other articles on this list were updated within the same article.


Officials identify 4 killed in Millcreek Canyon avalanche

Unified Police respond at an avalanche scene in Millcreek Canyon in Salt Lake County on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Unified Police respond at an avalanche scene in Millcreek Canyon in Salt Lake County on Saturday, Feb. 6. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Date published: Feb. 6 (Updated Feb. 7)

Page views: 544,353

Short synopsis: Four skiers were killed in what was Utah's deadliest avalanche since 1992.


Fast-moving fire in Parleys Canyon reaches 2,500 acres; thousands of homes evacuated

An air tanker drops retardant on the Parleys Canyon west of Park City on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.
An air tanker drops retardant on the Parleys Canyon west of Park City on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Date published: Aug. 14

Page views: 423,218

Short synopsis: A human-caused fire in Parleys Canyon caused a major home evacuation. In the days after it began, crews determined the fire wasn't as large as they had originally estimated (something that's normal in firefighting). It wound up burning nearly 550 acres.


75-year-old man arrested in connection with death of Sandy woman

A flyer is shown at a search for 53-year-old Masako Kenley on Sunday, July 4.
A flyer is shown at a search for 53-year-old Masako Kenley on Sunday, July 4. (Photo: Garna Mejia, KSL TV)

Date published: July 4 (Updated July 5)

Page views: 334,822

Short synopsis: Sandy police arrested a 75-year-old man in connection with the death of Masako Kenley, a Sandy woman who left home Friday to meet friends for dinner but didn't return.


Where can Utahns get a COVID-19 vaccine right now?

Rosa Valdiziez, a Salt Lake County Health Department nurse, administers a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the countyâ??s mass vaccination site at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, Jan. 18.
Rosa Valdiziez, a Salt Lake County Health Department nurse, administers a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the countyâ??s mass vaccination site at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, Jan. 18. (Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

Date published: Jan. 11 (Last updated March 24)

Page views: 331,391

Short synopsis: A list of who was eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine when the rollout of the vaccine was conducted in tiers, based on risk for severe disease. The vaccine became available for all groups in April.


Lehi teacher no longer employed after controversial political speech to class

A Lehi High School teacher was placed on administrative leave after a video of her sharing her political beliefs with students circulated on social media.
A Lehi High School teacher was placed on administrative leave after a video of her sharing her political beliefs with students circulated on social media. (Photo: Facebook)

Date published: Aug. 18

Page views: 315,684

Short synopsis: A chemistry teacher at Lehi High School lost her job at the school after a student's recording of her sharing political opinions in class circulated on social media.


Ohio State does the impossible by tainting Rose Bowl

Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson, right, celebrates his touchdown against Michigan State with teammate Chris Olave during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson, right, celebrates his touchdown against Michigan State with teammate Chris Olave during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Jay LaPrete, Associated Press)

Date published: Dec. 28

Page views: 310,449

Short synopsis: A sports column published this week about the choice of several Ohio State players to opt out of the upcoming Rose Bowl game against Utah.


FBI: Human remains resembling Gabby Petito found near Grand Teton National Park

The body of Gabby Petito, 22, was located near Grand Teton National Park after over a week of mystery surrounding her disappearance.
The body of Gabby Petito, 22, was located near Grand Teton National Park after over a week of mystery surrounding her disappearance. (Photo: Suffolk County Police Department)

Date published: Sept. 19

Page views: 303,744

Short synopsis: The human remains of Gabby Petito, a missing woman who had recently been in Utah, were discovered by Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.


Utah football player Aaron Lowe killed in Sunday morning shooting

Small memorials for Sophomore defensive back Aaron Lowe, who was shot and killed early Sunday morning have been placed at two locations, one at the scene of the shooting and the other at the Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Sept. 26.
Small memorials for Sophomore defensive back Aaron Lowe, who was shot and killed early Sunday morning have been placed at two locations, one at the scene of the shooting and the other at the Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Sept. 26. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Date published: Sept. 26

Page views: 293,564

Short synopsis: Utes football player Aaron Lowe was shot and killed during a party at a house in Salt Lake City's Sugar House neighborhood. A woman was also shot and critically injured.


Police: Woman missing for a year returned home

Church Rock near Moab, Monticello and Canyonlands Utah. A woman from the Monticello area returned home a year after she was reported missing.
Church Rock near Moab, Monticello and Canyonlands Utah. A woman from the Monticello area returned home a year after she was reported missing. (Photo: Chris Curtis, Shutterstock)

Date published: Sept. 25

Page views: 285,788

Short synopsis: A woman who was last seen in September 2020 returned home a year later.

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