Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2009-12-12
Submitted By: UAC
Place: Cardiac Ridge, Big Cottonwood Canyon
State: UT
Country: USA
Summary: 1 skier caught, fully buried, and recovered


Details from a telephone report to the Utah Avalanche Center. More details to follow as they become available.

A party of skiers were breaking a trail up east-facing Cardiac Ridge. As they neared the top of the ridge, they triggered an avalanche from below, which broke out about 100 feet above them. The avalanche caught the last skier on the up track, carried him down and buried him about 2.5 feet deep. The others responded immediately and as they approached with their beacons on receive, they saw the tip of a ski pole sticking out. They pulled on it and it was attached to his wrist. They reported to have dug him out in about a minute. His face was getting blue and he took a deep breath when they uncovered his face. He was recovered without injuries.

They reported that they felt several collapses previously but did not think there was enough snow to avalanche. The wind was blowing the snow near the ridge, so they assumed that it was a wind slab, which likely collapsed on the very weak faceted snow.

The slope was a shallow, rocky section of the broad, east facing ridge. They worked their way up the looker's right side of the slope.