A 50-foot-wide and 15-inch deep avalanche tumbled two snowmobilers down a northeast facing slope northeast of Corral Hollow, near a ridge between Franklin Basin and Egan Basin, Saturday, Dec. 7. (The original article stated that the avalanche was 15-feet deep. The Citizen regrets the error.)
According to the U.S. Forest Service, two of the riders were trying to dig out a stuck sled about 60 feet below the ridge at about 9,000 feet in elevation, when one of their companions triggered the avalanche from the ridge. A fourth rider was below the two, but had turned out of gully and was away from the avalanche.
The avalanche swept up the riders and their sleds in its 100-foot run, partially burying one rider except for one leg. The other deployed his airbag, which carried him above the debris.
The Utah Avalanche Center reminds snowmobilers that the danger of avalanches is considerable on drifted slopes at upper elevations. This one involved wind-drifted snow. They advise snowmobilers to avoid steep wind-drifted slopes and use caution while exploring the mountains.
Both riders involved in the avalanche were able to ride their sleds out of the back country.