Body found during search for missing skier in Emery County

Local News

UPDATE: Utah Avalanche Center has identified the victim as 26-year-old Michael Besendorfer of Nephi, Utah. Crews conducted an initial search Friday due to dangerous conditions. 

Search by ground and air resumed Saturday morning after UDOT crews blasted unstable slopes in the search area.

Utah Avalanche Center monitored conditions as searchers were inserted by air, on snowmobiles, timber sleds, snow cats, skis and snowshoes. A search dog and handler were flown in, and teams from Alta Ski Resort and Wasatch Back Country Rescue responded to the scene.

Besendorfer’s body was located around noon after the search dog, Lucy, indicated on an area. Wasatch Back Country Rescuers positively located the body based on Lucy’s indication, and recovery efforts began.


UPDATE: A body was found Saturday during the search for a skier who went missing after an avalanche Friday night. 

No other details have been released. 


EMERY COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Search and Rescue teams continued their search Saturday morning for a missing skier after an avalanche near Electric Lake Friday night in Emery County.

According to the Utah Avalanche Center, two skiers went up the mountain later Friday afternoon to ski along the Electric Lake Bowl. They made one run down and went back up to come down along a steeper slope. 

The first skier was able to ski to the bottom where he continued to wait for his partner who was out of sight. 

When his partner failed to show up, he went back to find him but ran into an avalanche. 

He was unable to locate the skier or any evidence of him so he called for help. The skiers were not wearing any sort of avalanche transceiver device.

Emery and Sanpete County search and rescue arrived at about 8 p.m., but they were unable to assess the avalanche danger on adjacent slopes because it was too dark, so the rescue teams could not do any ground searching.

A helicopter searched with spot lights until about midnight when they decided to start again on Saturday morning.

Personnel from Emery County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Sanpete County Search and Rescue, and Utah DPS helicopter are all involved in Saturday’s search.

UDOT will be also on scene today with explosives to take care of some unstable areas.

SR264 and SR31 are not impacted by search activities.

The last time anyone died in an avalanche in Utah was reported to be 1/31/2016. 

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