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Man dies in Park City backcountry avalanche

Posted at 12:36 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 21:02:57-05

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — A 31-year-old Clinton man died after being buried in an avalanche in Summit County Friday morning.

The man, who was later identified as Kevin Jack Steuterman according to an obituary, was snowboarding with his girlfriend in an area called Dutch Draw near Park City Mountain Canyons Village when he triggered the avalanche. The girlfriend was able to call authorities and say she had witnessed her boyfriend buried after attempting to snowboard down the terrain.

According to The Park Record, the couple rode the Ninety Nine 90 lift to the backcountry lift.

Rescue personnel transported by snow machines were able to locate he victim's body around 2:30 p.m. Friday. It's not known if the man was carrying avalanche safety equipment.

READ: Safety issues mount as skiers hit backcountry in pandemic

Summit County Sheriff's Office officials say the avalanche was estimated to be 50-feet wide with a 200-foot vertical drop.

The Dutch Draw area was the location of another deadly avalanche in 2019 and has reportedly now been the site of four deaths in the last 15 years.

Park City Avalanche
Emergency personnel on the scene of deadly avalanche in Park City

Earlier this week, the Utah Avalanche Center warned backcountry recreation enthusiasts about high avalanche danger in northern Utah and southeastern Idaho.

Craig Gordon, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center, explained Friday why the danger is currently high.

"Our snowpack right now is inherently weak, it's shallow, it's fragile; and any time we put any additional weight on top, in terms of snow or wind-load, the snowpack just teeters on the balance." said Gordon.

"All we need to do is roll along and tip that balance, pull a rug out from underneath and now we're staring down the barrel of a very dangerous avalanche."

The Park City Fire Department reports Airmed and ski patrol crews also responded to the scene.