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Back country skier walks away from avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A 36-year-old man survives after being swept up in an avalanche in Silver Fork Canyon. It happened just before 1 p.m. in the back country just above Little Cottonwood Canyon.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A 36-year-old man survives after being swept up in an avalanche in Silver Fork Canyon. It happened just before 1 p.m. in the back country just above Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said, “It swept him across a rock cliff and he got buried four to five feet down in the snow.”

The back country skier was with friends who were able to locate the man within minutes because they had the appropriate avalanche gear.

Lt. Hoyal says without a beacon or a probe it may have been impossible to find the buried skier. “One you’re buried underneath that snow the clock starts to click,” said Hoyal.

Avalanche expert Craig Gordon says this is the second avalanche in two days. He tells ABC 4 news the avalanche conditions are very unpredictable right now.

“Avalanches are breaking above people, they’re breaking when they’re low on the slope and they’re breaking three to four feet deep and hundreds of feet wide.”

The avalanche Sunday afternoon was 100 feet long and about 250 feet wide. Gordon says the snow feels light and fluffy, but it’s what’s going on underneath the new show that’s leading to the avalanches.

“We’ve got a weak layer of snow that was formed early in January and then last week’s storms put down a very cohesive slab and it’s overloading this weak snow,” said Gordon. “Now all it needs is a trigger.”

For the latest avalanche information log on to: http://utahavalanchecenter.org/
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