WHITNEY RESERVOIR, Summit County — Ryan A. Noorda, 39, grew up around snowmobiles.
"Ryan's passion was snowmobiling. Snowmobiling and ball sports, particularly softball and baseball," said his brother, Darin Noorda.
Over the weekend, Ryan Noorda wanted one big "last hurrah" with his father — who was selling his snowmobiles — and his brothers, and go on a snowmobile outing just as they had done as children. He also wanted to take his 11-year-old son, Connor, on his first big snowmobile trip.
"It was the last hurrah, you know. 'I’m going with my father and I'm taking my son and I'm going to start my own tradition as we had when we were growing up,'" Darin Noorda said of his brother's plans.
On Friday, after his father Brent and his son had retired for the day and gone back to their RV parked at the Bear River Trailhead, Ryan and Kevin Noorda decided to take a few more runs. One of them was up Gold Hill Basin near the Mirror Lake Highway where they had already completed several successful climbs earlier in the day. Ryan was about 100 yards ahead of Kevin.
"As they both turned out of their marks, Kevin said he'd seen it break, he'd seen the avalanche begin," Darin Noorda said. "And he motioned for Ryan, 'We gotta go.' And Kevin turned around and he could feel the snow moving and he pinned it. He throttled it down the hill. Kevin said that his snowmobile began to pick up and he began to feel the snow crawling over the back of him. And Kevin said just as quickly as it started, it ended. And he knew Ryan was in it."
Ryan Noorda was an advocate of safety and both men were wearing beacons and had shovels. Still, it took his brother about 20 minutes to find Ryan in the debris field and dig him out from under several feet of snow. He tried administering CPR, but it was too late.
"When he rolled Ryan over the best he could and proceeded to do CPR, Ryan was blue," Darin Noorda said. "And that's something he carries with him now, is finding my brother."
Now, Ryan's family is mourning the loss of their brother, but hoping it will serve as a reminder to other snowmobile riders to use caution.
"This rocks the family's foundation at its core. When these types of things, events happen tragically, you deal with a flood of emotion across a broad spectrum. Family and friends pull together and that's really where we're at, at this moment, is trying to grasp, throw our arms around this and try to accept and that's pretty much where we're all at," Darin Noorda said.
Ryan Noorda, of Honeyville, is survived by his wife, Christina, his 16-year-old daughter Kelsey, 14-year-old daughter Meagan, and 11-year-old son Connor. Darin Noorda recalled that his brother did everything with Connor, especially when it came to sports.
"I mean they were almost foot and toe. Where he was, his little son was right next to him, right beside him or behind him," he said.
Ryan Noorda worked as a mechanical engineer and was head of mechanical and structural engineering at Hypercomp Engineering in Brigham City.
"Ryan was good man. Ryan was a loving father. He was an awesome brother. And he wanted the best for his kids. He wanted to teach them morals. He wanted them to have a solid foundation in principles that would guide them in their life as his life had been guided by the things his parents taught him," Darin Noorda said.
Ryan Noorda is the third person to die in an avalanche in Utah this year.
A funeral was tentatively scheduled for Friday.
Contributing: Sandra Yi
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