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Wyoming skier dies on Lily Lake trail in Utah’s Uinta Mountains

Lilly Lake is just east of Mirror Lake Highway, about 7 miles south of the Utah-Wyoming border.
Parker Malatesta
Lily Lake is just east of Mirror Lake Highway, about 7 miles south of the Utah-Wyoming border.

A beloved outdoor recreation advocate died while skiing in Summit County Friday.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 75-year-old Michael Kessenich of Uinta County, Wyo.

Chief Deputy Kacey Bates said he was well-liked in the community and skied often near Lily Lake, near where he was found Friday, Feb. 9.

Kessenich wasn’t reported overdue. He was last seen around 2 p.m. by his spouse, according to Bates.

Another couple found him on the trail about two hours later. They attempted life-saving efforts but were unsuccessful.

Summit County Search and Rescue and detectives from the sheriff’s office responded after that.

The death is not being treated as suspicious, but Utah’s Office of the Medical Examiner hasn’t reported a cause yet.

Bates said her and Summit County deputies’ thoughts go out to Kessenich’s family.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

According to an obituary, Kessenich and his business partner applied for a permit from the U.S. Forest Service in the 1980s to lay down cross-country ski trails in the Uintas.

Their efforts created what became known as the Lily Lake Ski Area and then the Bear River Outdoor Recreation Alliance, now the largest nonprofit in Uinta County, Wyo.