Avalanche at Snowbasin Resort sends ski patrol member to hospital

Posted at 10:56 AM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 20:07:33-05

HUNTSVILLE, Utah - A 16-year ski patrol veteran is in the hospital after getting caught in an avalanche at Snowbasin Resort Tuesday.

Officials said the ski patrol was doing avalanche control at about 7:45 a.m. midway down the John Paul Run of Allen Peak when one of the members, Mike Erickson, threw a charge and skied away to the backside of the hill on a low-angle slope

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Welcome to Winter Wonderland. #SnowbasinResort

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Erickson, who is experienced in the back country, said he heard a "pop" and wasn't sure what it was because the charge was not set to go off yet.

Authorities said a slide broke off above him and started to carry him down the hill.

Weber County Lt. Brandon Toll said Erickson pulled his airbag but was tossed into a tree and tumbled numerous times.

Lt. Toll said Erickson got partially buried at the bottom of the debris field.

Other members of the ski patrol were able to reach Erickson, free him and load him into a toboggan.

He is now recovering in the hospital for injuries that may include broken ribs.

"The safety of Snowbasin Resort guests and staff is of the utmost importance to us," Snowbasin's Tess Hobbs said. "All Snowbasin Resort ski patrollers are equipped with beacons, airbags and avalanche rescue gear."

Fortunately Erickson had help nearby and the right equipment; otherwise, this incident could have ended differently.

Erickson is urging people to be smart and stay in-bounds.

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We received another 12" of fresh snow last night! We'll have a delayed opening today due to continued avalanche reduction work which is producing significant results this morning.

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