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Another Close Call On Park City Ridgline

Matt Baydala

This week saw another avalanche on the Park City Ridgline.

Park City restaurant owner Matt Baydala was skiing Christmas morning when he saw and filmed a rider trigger an avalanche off the Park City Ridgline. Utah Avalanche Center shared the video and Baydala’s message of warning. UAC forecaster Drew Hardesty says the slide was near the sport where a man was buried and killed by an avalanche just 10 days earlier.

“It was probably about a foot deep and maybe 100 feet wide,” Hardesty continued. “Chased him down the hillside there and he was seemingly unaware that it was nipping at his heels. Dutch Draw seems to be the place this winter. Not only the fatality a couple weeks ago, but also another avalanche triggered there just adjacent to that just a few days later.”

The rider who narrowly escaped being buried reportedly had no avalanche equipment on him and was skiing alone.

“Just no idea,” Hardesty said. “It’s best to have a spotter, and best to sort of look over your shoulder now and again, but a close call. Very close call in that regard.”

Hardesty says it’s vital that skiers and snowboarders recognize that danger exists as soon as you exit a ski resort.

“The key point for people to remember there along the Park City Ridgeline is if you're stepping out of bounds from 9990 or one of the other exit gates you're taking your life in your hands,” Hardesty explained. “You're going from where it's safer and controlled from the professional avalanche teams there and you're heading into the backcountry where the danger is much more significant. Right across the boundary line, it's night and day difference.”

You can hear current avalanche conditions every morning at 8:00 on KPCW Radio and check conditions online here.

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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