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After snowmobiler caught in avalanche, new warnings

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – After a snowy Christmas weekend, officials are warning about avalanche danger — especially after an experienced snowmobiler was caught in an avalanche and up to his neck in snow.

It happened Tuesday near the Utah-Idaho border.

“Backcountry avalanche conditions are tricky,” said Craig Gordon with Utah Avalanche Center.

Gordon says that a dry December, followed by a flurry of snow this last weekend, has radically changed avalanche conditions.

“The snow will allow you to get out onto it before it collapses, and fails, and then shatters like a pane of glass. Once that happens, you’re staring down the barrel of a very dangerous avalanche,” said Gordon.

“Right now, it’s not a very solid foundation,” said Gordon.

The Avalanche Center forecasted an Avalanche Warning on Christmas Eve; and though that warning expired Wednesday, human-caused avalanches are still a huge concern in the backcountry.

“Whether we’re skiing, boarding, snowmobiling, hiking, just walking around in the mountains, during the holidays, we need to stay off of — and out from under — steep wind-drifted slopes,” said Gordon.

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