On Saturday (Feb. 6) a massive avalanche happened in Utah. It is the third fatal avalanche in Utah in 2021.
Unfortunately, there were four skiers that lost their life due to the sudden avalanche.
According to The Washington Post, the group that was impacted by the avalanche were eight experienced skiers all in their 20s or 30s. Four of them survived with minor injuries and were able to dig out the others who had unfortunately passed away.
All of the skiers had shovels and probes on them. At the time, the Utah Avalanche Center labeled the risk of avalanches as high. They tweeted out a warning that there would be dangerous avalanche conditions and natural avalanches overnight.
Officials are hoping that the event will cause people to be more cautious in backcountry snow activities. Especially with the dangerous conditions observed this year so far.
“I don’t want to see people not going into the backcountry and enjoying it at such an enormous amount of health benefits, physically and mentally, for us, but … that’s an unnecessary risk to get on a slope like that under the conditions we’re having this winter, at least leading up to this point in time. I hope it causes people to increase their caution in the backcountry, because yesterday was just so tragic and massive,” former Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Snowmobilers Capture Video
Another group of snowmobilers also were impacted by the same Utah avalanche that killed four people. However, the five guys survived the avalanche and recorded the events as well.
It all happened in the Uinta Mountains in northeast Utah.
According to TMZ, one of the guys, Miles Penrose, saw the snow start to race toward him and grabbed his phone to record. This happened right after his avalanche backpack chute failed to deploy.
When the snow hit it moved him 20 yards. However, he ended up on the top of a snow pile. He then rescued his little brother and his other friends. One of his friends was trapped five feet under the snow, but was rescued.
The five men survived and were able to show just how massive and terrifying an avalanche is right as it’s barreling down a mountain.
Avalanches are wreaking havoc this winter season. As of now, there have been 21 deaths across seven different states.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, 16 of the deaths were skiers or snowboarders. There were 13 avalanches since Dec. 18 and 14 of the deaths happened since the start of February.
Snow conditions are extremely dangerous as of right now in many states.
The New York Times reported on three hikers that were killed by an avalanche in Alaska last week. Another man was killed in Montana’s Swan Range while snowboarding. A man died in Colorado’s East Vail Chutes and another in the Siskiyou County California.
In fact, the number of avalanche deaths just these past few months have been absurdly high. Buzzfeed News said that this has been the deadliest seven-day period of avalanche deaths since 1910. An avalanche in Wellington, Washington killed 96 people that year.
A portion of this could be attributed to the fact that more people are engaging in outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.