Kurt Damschroder Park City, Utah skier killed after triggering avalanche. Body recovered in Square Top, Summit County in backcountry.
Undone by the allure of the thrill…. A skier who triggered an avalanche that left him buried in Utah‘s backcountry on Saturday has been confirmed dead, officials announced Sunday.
Rescuers recovered the body of Kurt Damschroder, 57, of Park City, Utah, a day after he was swept up in the slide at an area known as Square Top, located outside the resort boundaries near Park City Mountains Canyon Village, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said.
‘Our hearts and prayers are with Kurt’s girlfriend and family,’ the sheriff’s office tweeted.
Damschroder a long time resident of Park City, designer and avid outdoorsman, was skiing with a friend around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday when they were caught in the avalanche. The friend escaped the slide and dug their way to Damschroder, who was buried under four to five feet of snow, Lt. Andrew Wright told FOX13 Salt Lake City.
Damschroder’s friend had ‘attempted life-saving efforts’ but was forced to leave the area due to the ‘extreme avalanche danger,’ according to the sheriff’s office.
#Avalanche photos – these photos were taken by our drone operators this morning. The photos are of Square Top after mitigation efforts took place – this resulted in additional slides. Additional details are forthcoming. #summitcounty pic.twitter.com/UE0ts83dFa
— Sheriff Justin (@SummitCountySO) January 31, 2021
At the mercy of the elements
Rescue efforts were temporarily halted Saturday night after treacherous conditions prevented rescuers from reaching the area, the sheriff’s office said.
After rescue operations resumed at 7 a.m. Sunday, officials said the dangerous conditions required crews to perform avalanche mitigation, which caused additional slides on the mountain.
Wright said that Damschroder, an outdoor enthusiast and experienced skier, had the proper gear for a backcountry outing, including a beacon, a probe and a shovel. However, he said that the skier was at the mercy of the weight of the snow and the speed of the slide.
He said the avalanche carried Damschroder several hundred yards, adding that the area is known to be ‘very deadly.’
Authorities warned those entering Utah’s backcountry to use extreme caution, to check avalanche conditions before venturing out, and be prepared with the proper equipment.
Of note, the Utah Avalanche Center reports 39 avalanches in the state taking place just on Saturday, with an additional six on Sunday.
Damschroder’s death comes just over a month after a series of avalanches killed three skiers in Colorado.