Body of missing skier found at Alta ski resort

File photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

ALTA, Utah, Jan. 20, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The body of a missing skier who failed to return after a ski outing Wednesday in the Grizzly Gulch area of the Alta ski resort was recovered Thursday morning.

At about 9:30 a.m., officials confirmed they had located the body of the 68-year-old man, who was a Cottonwood Heights resident. Later in the day, officials identified the victim as Merrill Bitter.

According to officials, the Alta Ski Area received a call from someone who knew Bitter at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday saying he had not returned. The man was expected back hours earlier.

The Unified Police Department coordinated a search effort with Wasatch Backcountry Rescue and a Department of Public Safety helicopter, Sgt. Melody Cutler, Unified Police Department, told Gephardt Daily. Crews searched until 1:30 a.m. Thursday, then resumed the operation at sunrise.

It was the DPS helicopter that located the body, Cutler said. The remains have been positively identified as those of the missing man, she said.

Cause of death has not yet been confirmed, and that will be up to the medical examiner to determine, Cutler said.

The temperature was well below freezing overnight. Cutler said “it was probably below zero.”

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