Skier hospitalized after avalanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Two avalanches were reported near the Silver Fork area of the canyon on Saturday afternoon

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A sign lets backcountry skiers and boarders know their avalanche beacons are turned on and working before heading into the North Fork Trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.

One skier was hospitalized after two avalanches occurred in Big Cottonwood Canyon Saturday afternoon.

The first avalanche was reported to authorities at about 12:20 p.m. and occurred in the East Bowl of the canyon’s Silver Fork area, near Brighton Ski Resort. A 55-year-old man was skiing with about seven people when he was caught in the avalanche, but other members of his party were able to reach him.

The man was unconscious but breathing after he was dug out of the snow, but he later regained consciousness. Emergency responders took the man to a local hospital via a medical helicopter, where he is in critical but stable condition, a Unified Police spokesperson said.

The second avalanche occurred near Mats Basin, about two miles away from the first one, said Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Drew Hardesty. This avalanche occurred at about the same time and also partially buried an individual who did not need medical attention.

The Utah Avalanche Center issued a special avalanche bulletin on Friday night due to Saturday’s forecast, stating that northern and central Utah is experiencing “considerable avalanche danger.” The center urged those in the backcountry to avoid steep slopes and to carry avalanche beacons, shovels, and probes.