Four skiers died after an avalanche occurred Saturday in Utah

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Four skiers are dead after an avalanche Saturday in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley, in a backcountry region of Millcreek Canyon. The avalanche, which covered 250 feet of ground with hurtled snow 2.5 feet deep, occurred at an altitude of 9,800 feet on a north-facing slope, according to the Utah Avalanche Center. Eight skiers, friends ranging in age from 23 to 48 years old, were in the area of Wilson Basin and were caught in the avalanche. Rescue crews were notified. The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Canyon Search and Rescue Unit, Unified Police Department, Unified Fire Authority and others were involved in the response. Only four persons survived. They had minor injuries and were rescued via helicopter. One of the survivors experienced hypothermia.

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“This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the victims and families involved,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted. Dangerous avalanche conditions were predicted earlier on Saturday. New snow in the last week on an already weak snowpack resulted in increased danger. At 7 a.m. local time Saturday, the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center issued a backcountry avalanche warning for the mountains of northern Utah. It remains in effect. Saturday’s incident was Utah’s third fatal avalanche of 2021.Two other skiers have already been killed by avalanches in Utah this year.