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Snowmobiler survives avalanche near Utah-Idaho border

Posted at 2:01 PM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-27 20:31:43-05

FRANKLIN, Idaho — A snowmobiler is lucky to be alive after being caught in an avalanche near the Utah-Idaho border on Tuesday.

According to a Utah Avalanche Center report, the incident happened on the Utah side of the border in the Boss Canyon / Franklin Basin area, just south of Franklin, ID on Tuesday.

"I know he had the right gear and knew how to use it, his legs was [sic] pinned between his sled and tree," stated a friend who gave comment to the UAC.

The friend told the UAC it took about 45 minutes to dig the man out, but that he was able to get his head out of the snow because of his backpack.

This slide was just one of dozens recorded by the UAC between December 24 and December 27.

Another slide triggered at Solitude Ski Resort overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, in a closed area.

"It has been crazy in the backcountry," said Craig Gordon, avalanche forecaster with the UAC. "We've seen dozens of both natural and human triggered avalanches. Right now the structure of our snowpack near the ground is very unstable."

UAC issued a warning of high avalanche danger Tuesday along with an avalanche watch, saying backcountry travel is not recommended. By Wednesday, the danger was dropped to "considerable" and "moderate" in most areas, but Gordon said conditions are still dangerous in the backcountry.

"We're not seeing natural avalanches in the backcountry," he said. "Right now steep, wind loaded slopes are waiting for a trigger-- like us-- to come along and knock the legs out from underneath it. That's what's making things so sketchy right now."

Click here to check the current avalanche conditions on the UAC's website.