Snowboarder Dies in Utah Avalanche

Was in the backcountry near Snowbasin Ski Resort

Blake Ford was in Hell's Canyon, which is beyond the boundary of Snowbasin, when the avalanche happened. (pauljoehancock/Flickr)
Photo: pauljoehancock/Flickr

A snowboarder died in an avalanche after leaving the Snowbasin Ski Resort’s boundaries Wednesday, reports the Ogden Standard-Examiner.

Twenty-one-year-old Blake Ford was snowboarding with a friend when they accessed an avalanche-prone area near the resort called Hell’s Canyon. They were traversing back to the resort when Ford triggered the slide.

Neither snowboarder was equipped with beacons or other avalanche safety equipment. Ford’s body was found by one of the Snowbasin ski patrol’s rescue dogs. He had been buried under about three feet of snow, and rescuers estimate he had been carried about 1,800 feet in the slide.

A series of big storms has created dangerous avalanche conditions in much of the West. “It’s considerably dangerous,” Lt. Brandon Toll of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office told the Standard-Examiner. “A few days ago, conditions were stable. With that big snow that came in and put two to three feet of snow on that hard pack, it really caused unstable conditions.”

This was the first avalanche death of the season in Utah.

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