Utah Skier, 57, Found Dead After Being Buried Under Avalanche

Jen Juneau
·3 min read

Summit County Sheriff’s Office/ twitter Kurt Damschroder

A man has died after an avalanche in Park City, Utah, officials said.

The victim — whom the Summit County Sheriff's Office has identified as 57-year-old local Kurt Damschroder — and a friend triggered an avalanche in an area known as Square Top, in backcountry land "outside resort boundaries near Park City Mountain Canyons Village," the sheriff's office reported Saturday.

"One of the skiers was caught in the avalanche," the sheriff's office continued of the Saturday-afternoon tragedy. "The friend was able to dig to the victim and attempted lifesaving efforts."

"Because of the extreme avalanche danger in the area the friend had to leave. The extreme avalanche danger prevented rescuers from getting into the area before nightfall," their statement went on, adding that teams would "resume rescue operations in the morning."

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The sheriff's office announced on Twitter Sunday that they'd "resumed #avalanche operations" that morning at 7 a.m. local time, with the assistance of helicopters from Utah Public Safety.

"We are attempting to make the area safe so personnel can get into the burial site," they said, going on to share photos of the avalanche and the "additional slides" that were created as a result.

In a final update, the sheriff's office posted a photo of the victim, writing, "It is with heavy hearts we announce that 57-year-old Kurt Damschroder of Park City, Utah passed away after being caught in the Square Top #avalanche."

"Our hearts and prayers are with Kurt's girlfriend and family," they added, alongside a broken-heart emoji.

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Forecaster Nikki Champion, of the Utah Avalanche Center, said of Sunday's outlook, "Additional new snow and recent strong southerly winds have overloaded the snowpack on many slopes at the mid and upper elevations," according to Weather.com.

"Any natural or human-triggered avalanche can be 2-4' deep, over a few hundred feet wide, and likely unsurvivable," she warned.

The Utah Avalanche Center reports 39 avalanches in the state taking place just on Saturday, with an additional six on Sunday.

Damschroder's death comes just over a month after a series of avalanches killed three skiers in Colorado and two weeks after another series of avalanches reportedly killed at least 77 people and injured nearly 100 more in Pakistan, trapping people in their homes and preventing them from receiving aid.