SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Rescue efforts for a skier who was buried in an avalanche Saturday have been called off until the morning.
It occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. in the Square Top area, near Park City Mountain Canyons Village but not in resort boundaries.
The victim’s friend, who was not caught in the slide, was able to dig the victim out and attempt lifesaving efforts.
However, the friend had to leave the area due to extreme avalanche danger, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. This danger also prevented the county’s search and rescue team from getting to the area by nightfall.
They will resume the rescue effort Sunday morning along with help from the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Authorities have not confirmed whether the individual died.
“This is an ongoing operation and no additional information regarding the avalanche victim will be given,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a press release. “Once we have made contact with the victim, we will provide additional details.”
The sheriff’s office also reminded those going into the backcountry to be extremely cautious — to be prepared with the proper equipment, avoid areas of avalanche danger and check conditions on the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) website.
The UAC warned of high avalanche risk this weekend due to the current conditions. There is a weak, older base layer that can’t support the recent, heavier snow piling on top — making a recipe for an avalanche accident, experts told FOX 13.
They advised anyone heading into the backcountry to avoid slopes that are 30 degrees or steeper.
According to the UAC, Square Top is the home of “a notorious avalanche path in the Canyons backcountry… [the] site of numerous accidents and fatalities.”
Looks like an avalanche was observed at Square Top earlier this week.
— (@brian_schnee) January 30, 2021
There have been dozens of avalanches in Utah during the 2020-21 winter season, one of which was fatal.
This is a developing story. We will update this article as more information becomes available.