1 killed, another injured in avalanche at Gobblers Knob
MILLCREEK CANYON — A Sugar House man was killed Thursday in an avalanche in the mountains of Salt Lake County, police said.
Douglas Green, 49, was skiing around 2:30 p.m. at Gobblers Knob, an area between Millcreek and Big Cottonwood canyons, when he was killed in the slide, according to Unified police.
A second man was injured when he was partially buried by the slide, said Unified Police Sgt. Paul Barker. The 50-year-old man was in stable condition Thursday evening.
Green and the other man were skiing with a larger group of people at the time of the avalanche, according to Barker. Green was fully buried in the snow. Others from his group pulled him out and performed CPR but couldn't revive him, the sergeant said.
A Life Flight helicopter arrived, and the crew also was unsuccessful reviving Green. The helicopter flew both victims to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
The rest of the skiing group exited the area without incident.
Ryan Louck was backcountry skiing on a nearby slope and saw the aftermath of the avalanche. He saw a group of skiers and a medical helicopter near the bottom of slide, which he estimated was about 1,000 feet long and "just flushed out an entire gully."
The avalanche looked like it was about 100- to 150-feet wide at the top, Louck said.
"My first reaction is just compassion," he said Thursday afternoon before learning of the men's fate. "I feel bad for their families if they didn’t (survive)."
Louck said he contacted the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center in the morning to ask about the conditions, then changed his route because of the high risk on some slopes.
"Just looking at the south-facing slopes, they were getting warm. (There were) signs that it was getting too hot," he said. "So it was pretty clear that it’d be dangerous to ski those south-facing slopes today."
Louck said he keeps safe by staying informed about the slopes he wants to try.
"You really have know your terrain and know how to avoid those areas that will put you at risk," he said.
Mark Staples, Utah Avalanche Center director, issued a statement Thursday morning warning of major risks in backcountry areas of Salt Lake County.
"(There has been) widespread recent avalanche activity, both natural and human triggered, recent snow and strong winds, widespread faceted layers in the snowpack, and (Thursday) will have strong sunshine and temperatures possibly going above freezing," Staples said. "All these factors combine to make very dangerous avalanche conditions."
The Utah Avalanche Center currently ranks avalanche danger as "high" along Wasatch Front mountain ranges.
Contributing: Pat Reavy, Jed Boal
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