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Utah skier found dead, killed by avalanche in Lambs Canyon

First Published      Last Updated Feb 03 2016 06:55 am


Fatality » Search turns up body of experienced skier buried by slide in Lambs Canyon area.

Summit County Search and Rescue crews, joined by ski patrol members, found the body of a skier who had been missing from the Park City resort area since Sunday night.

The skier — 50-year-old Stephen Jones — was buried in an avalanche, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office. At about 2 p.m. Tuesday, searchers found his body buried in about 3 feet of snow in an area called Shale Shot in Lambs Canyon.

The avalanche was 60 feet wide and 500 feet long, according to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Justin Martinez has said that the Wanship man was considered an experienced skier and was believed to be wearing appropriate winter clothing and carrying a rescue beacon, water and food when he left Sunday morning to ski.



When he failed to return home at 9 p.m. Sunday, his family reported him missing. His vehicle was found in the resort parking lot.

On Monday, searchers focused on Park City resort property and nearby backcountry skiing runs after a ping of his cellphone provided them a general location, but the effort had to be suspended at nightfall.

The effort resumed at dawn Tuesday, aided by a Utah Department of Transportation helicopter and search dogs.

On Sunday, there was a "considerable" risk of avalanche on slopes that were above 8,000 feet and about 35 degrees and steeper, according to the Utah Avalanche Center. According to a report about the slide on the center's website, the avalanche occurred Sunday at about 9,100 feet on a 40-degree slope.

Besides being a skier, Jones was a member of the trail-running group Wasatch Mountain Wranglers.

In 2014, he finished the Tahoe 200 Mile Endurance Run in the California mountains. As much of an accomplishment as the strenuous endurance race was, Jones' focus was outside himself.

"For me, it [the Tahoe 200] wasn't about the suffering, or even the beauty of course, although the course was very beautiful," Jones said on social media that year.

"While it was rewarding to finish something so big, even that feeling of accomplishment was not what made the race so special. It was witnessing the triumphs of other runners," he added.

Jones' death is the second fatal avalanche accident of the year.

A man died after he was caught in a snowslide between Mill Creek and Big Cottonwood canyons on Jan. 21.

remims@sltrib.com Twitter: @remims

 

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