Tragedy struck this passed Sunday when a snowboarder was killed in Park City, UT from a triggered avalanche. The snowboarder, 45-year-old Raymond M. Tauszik of Salt Lake City, was buried in the snow near the Summitt County ski resort and dug out Sunday afternoon. Shortly after he was found, lifesaving efforts were performed, but to no avail. The avalanche was human-triggered and occurred near the area’s “Dutch Draw,” in Park City, Utah.
The Utah Avalanche Center confirmed the death and incident in a public report on its website, also stating that this was a human-initiated avalanche. “Part of the way down the (Dutch Draw) slope, (the man) unintentionally triggered and was caught, carried and killed in an avalanche,” the center said. It was reported that the avalanche was three feet deep and 100 feet wide. The avalanche center also described Dutch Draw, the sight of the accidental avalanche, to be “steep, rocky, avalanche prone terrain.” This is not the first fatality due to an avalanche is this area either. There was one that happened in February 2012. The day the accident occurred, the UAC reported a forecast forewarning that the Salt Lake Area Mountains rated avalanche danger as “considerable” and advised those in the area to avoid the terrain.
Chad Brackelsberg, UAC Executive Director, told CNN that anyone participating in this sort of event should always be prepared while skiing or snowboarding. This was a very unfortunate and fatal accident that can be avoided. Skiers and snowboarders are urged now more than ever to check the avalanche forecasts before going out in order to be the most prepared and safe while out riding. Brackelsberg said “While this incident was in the backcountry, once you exit the gates of a resort, you are in the backcountry even if it is very close or near the resort. Anybody who is recreating in the backcountry is recommended to have their avalanche rescue gear, a beacon, shovel, and probe, and that they know how to use it.”
Since it is winter time and some are taking advantage of winter sports, please be cautious and smart when venturing into outside territory. What happened to Mr. Tauszik is horrific. Stay safe this winter season and suit up, check your reports, and come prepared. Safe riding!