Family of avalanche victim honors his memory

Posted at 9:16 PM, Mar 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-04 12:31:19-05

by Caroline Connolly

SPANISH FORK, Utah -- A family and community are coping with the loss of a Salt Lake City man who was killed in an avalanche, Friday. James Childs, 32, died snowmobiling in Sevier County with his family. He leaves behind four young children.

"In such tragedy and devastation, the amount of sorrow is hard to explain,” said Childs’ uncle, Jason Werner.

Werner was absent from Friday’s ride through the Long Valley area, which the family typically makes once a year in order to spend some time together.

"They were in an area that they were very familiar with. I've been with them several times on those trips. Unfortunately, when the accident happened, it just went very bad for James, very quickly," explained Werner.

At some point during the trip, Werner said the family stopped to rest and Childs decided to ride up a nearby hill. When the sound of his snowmobile disappeared, the group went looking for him and discovered that there had been an avalanche. Rescue crews later discovered Childs’ body under 10 feet of snow.

According to authorities, he was not wearing an avalanche beacon, which the Childs family hopes serves as a reminder to others to always have the proper safety equipment on hand.

"I think the world lost a really bright smile when James passed away this weekend," said Werner.

A fund has been set up to help the family get back on their feet. Donations can be made at any Zions Bank. The account is under James Childs’ name.