Skier recovering from injuries after being caught in avalanche

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SALT LAKE CITY — One skier got caught and was injured in an avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon Tuesday near Tanner's Campground.

Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler said the call came in about 2:15 p.m. from an area known as pink pine. Two skiers in their 20s, one male and one female, were skiing when an avalanche was triggered.

Police said the man was caught in the avalanche but was not buried. He did, however, suffer significant injuries to his leg, ribs, shoulder and face.

Mark Staples, with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center, said avalanche danger is prevalent right now and the skier who got caught is lucky to have made it out alive. Staples said he believes the avalanche was about 60 feet wide and 2 to 4 feet deep.

"They were caught, they weren't buried. They were injured, and they had to be hauled out of there," Staples said. "Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, Alta and Snowbird's ski patrols saved his life."

Staples said rescuers got the man to safety in about three hours, which he called "really fast" as they had to rescue him on foot in deep snow, wade through water to cross Little Cottonwood Creek, and drag him uphill.

"We are worried. We're trying to get the message out, you know: If you're going snowshoeing, walking your dog any place in the mountains where you have steep snow-covered slopes, you could have an avalanche," Staples said.

Staples said this avalanche is concerning because it happened at a lower elevation in a forested area with trees and more avalanches are possible in the days to come. Forecasters like Staples are urging canyon visitors to be safe and careful in the snow.

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Cassidy Wixom covers Utah County communities and is the evening breaking news reporter for
Andrew Adams
Andrew Adams is an award-winning journalist and reporter for KSL-TV. For two decades, he's covered a variety of stories for KSL, including major crime, politics and sports.


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