Update: Officials recover body, ID man killed in Summit County backcountry avalanche

Kurt Damschroder. Photo Courtesy: Summit County Sheriff's Office

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 31, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Summit County officials have recovered the body of a man killed in a backcountry avalanche Saturday afternoon.

“The skier has been identified as 57-year-old Kurt Damschroder of Park City,” said a Sunday afternoon news release from Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “Kurt was a long-time resident of Park City and loved to spend his time outdoors.”

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an avalanche in the backcountry in an area known as Square Top at 3:26 p.m. Saturday. This area is located outside resort boundaries near Park City Mountain Canyons Village, the news release said.

The avalanche was triggered by two skiers; one of the skiers, Damschroder, was caught in the avalanche. The friend immediately called for help, located the skier with the help of an avalanche beacon, and attempted lifesaving efforts for more than an hour.

Lt. Andrew Wright, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, told Gephardt Daily at 5:28 p.m. Saturday that a Department of Public Safety helicopter was trying to reach the man and hoist him out.

“But it hasn’t reached him, and we are losing light,” Wright said.

The subsequent news release from the sheriff’s office stated that “because of the extreme avalanche danger in the area the friend had to leave,” and the extreme avalanche danger prevented rescuers from getting into the area before nightfall.

Summit County search and rescue crews resumed the operation Sunday morning.

“We resumed #avalanche operations this morning at 7 a.m.,” said a tweet from Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez at 9:15 a.m. “Our friends from Utah Department of Public Safety are assisting us with their helicopter. We are attempting to make the area safe so personnel can get into the burial site. Updates will be given when new information is available.”

On Sunday, after completing avalanche mitigation work, responders were able to get into the avalanche zone and recovered Damschroder’s body.

“The Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Summit County Search and Rescue offers our most sincere condolences to Kurt’s girlfriend, family, and friends,” the news release added. “The family has requested privacy while they mourn the loss of their beloved Kurt.”

The initial news release Saturday concluded with the following:

“The Summit County Sheriff’s Office reminds people to use extreme caution when entering the backcountry. People should check avalanche conditions at the Utah Avalanche Center, avoid areas where there is avalanche danger, and be prepared with the proper equipment.”


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