Skiers Trigger Three Avalanches

Skiers Trigger Three Avalanches

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingLast night we warned viewers avalanche danger was rising in the backcountry. Today, two groups of skiers triggered a series of avalanches near Snowbasin Ski Resort. One person was hurt and rescue crews wonder if another could be buried.

It started with three people skiing in Hell's Canyon, northwest of Snowbasin. They ignored signs that said "off-limits" and "out of bounds." Soon one person in the group saw an avalanche coming and yelled to the other two. But they weren't able to move fast enough.

Davis County resident Preston Neiderhauswer was partially buried in the snow. The Snowbasin Search and Rescue team got him out, but he did have a broken leg, arm injuries, possible injured ribs and head trauma. He was airlifted to the hospital.

Lt. Merv Taylor, Weber County Sheriff's Office: “It could have been extremely lethal for these individuals, had they not taken the action they did. They tried to get behind some trees and some rocks and try to get to some safe area where they wouldn’t be in the brunt of the slide. But it was a major slide.”

Shortly after, two other skiers triggered a second and third avalanche. No one was hurt in those, but search and rescue teams found a lone ski that didn't belong to any of the people involved. They combed the mountain until about 4:00 and didn't find anything, so they don't know if there's someone unaccounted for.

After the parking lots empty tonight, they will search those to see if any cars are left. They may go back in again tomorrow.

Officers are warning people to stay out of restricted areas; they're just too dangerous with all the snow we have. Also, never go into the backcountry without a beacon.

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