Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2007-12-23
Submitted By: UAC
Place: Red Pine Chute, Canyons Mountain Resort
State: UT
Country: USA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 4 involved; one skier caught, carried and killed; 2nd skier buried, rescued.

Preliminary Avalanche Accident Report

Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center

Lees-Kobernik 12-24-07

Red Pine Chute, Canyons Mountain Resort

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Four skiers involved. One skier caught, carried and killed; 2nd skier buried, rescued, currently in the hospital.

Location: Click HERE for a photo:

The avalanche occurred in an area known as Red Pine Chute, north of Peak 9990, within the Canyons Mountain Resort boundary.

Accident and Rescue Summary:

Two men were descending upper Red Pine Chute shortly after 11 am when they triggered an avalanche. The slope had been extensive controlled the day before, and had a few tracks on it including some from the snow safety team. One man was caught, carried a ways, and ended up on top. The other man was caught, hit a tree in the lower track, and died of head trauma. A man and a child below were engulfed, with the man partially buried, and the child totally buried. A call was placed from on site to 911, and the sheriffs notified Canyons ski patrol. The father was able to dig himself out while his son remained completely buried. The ski patrol arrived and preformed an outstanding rescue. They set up a probe line using volunteers on the scene. Within minutes, there was a strike by a 15 year old girl that was on the probe line that the snow safety had organized, and the boy was excavated from the debris with no pulse or respirations. CPR was begun immediately, and the boy was breathing on his own by the time he was loaded into the air ambulance. Response was impressively fast. He was taken to a Salt Lake hospital, where he remains under care as of 12/24/07.

Avalanche Data:

The avalanche occurred on a north northeast facing slope, at 9,600?. The average angle of the starting zone was 39 degrees. The avalanche was about 60 feet wide at the crown, and widened to around 100? in places down track. The slide averaged 3 to 4? deep, up to 5? in places, and ran approximately 600 vertical feet. The avalanche entrained a lot of snow from the track and sidewalls, resulting in a large amount of debris. The avalanche failed on a weak layer of 2 to 3 mm facets, sandwiched between two deteriorating ice crusts. The slab was about 100 cm thick, going from fist hardness near the surface to 1 finger hardness just above the upper crust.