Sheriff Says Dead Snowboarder Didn't Break the Law

Sheriff Says Dead Snowboarder Didn't Break the Law

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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- A 27-year-old backcountry snowboarder who was killed in an avalanche was not breaking the law when he left a ski resort and ventured onto federal land, an official said.

"It's not smart to be where those people were," Sheriff Dave Edmunds said Tuesday. "It's not smart to be there without a (rescue) beacon. But it wasn't a violation."

The body of Shane Maixner of Sandpoint, Idaho, was recovered Sunday. Officials had initially feared five people may have trapped under the massive snow slide adjacent to The Canyons resort on public land in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

However, Edmunds scaled back the search on Monday, saying they believe they recovered the body of the only victim of the slide. A friend had seen Maixner get swept up in the avalanche, and reported it to a 911 dispatcher.

Edmunds said there may have been some confusion during a press conference on Monday whether Maixner had broken the law.

A day later, Edmunds clarified the law, saying skiing into a closed area within the boundaries of a ski resort like The Canyons is a misdemeanor offense.

"If you are skiing on resort premises and you don't obey the rules, you've broken the law," he said.

But there is no law against leaving ski resort boundaries and going into backcountry areas on public areas. Edmunds say such enthusiasts may risk their lives, but they are not breaking the law.

"People do it all the time. It is not unusual at all at any of the resorts, said Randy Doyle, a manager at the Brighton resort.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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