The body of a 37-year-old Norwegian man who disappeared while skiing the backcountry in the Wasatch Mountains was discovered Thursday, the fourth avalanche death in Utah in less than a week.
Searchers located Vegard Lund of Styanger, Norway, after explosives were dropped from a helicopter to clear snow and create a safe route.
Lund was skiing with two other Norwegians on Wednesday when they became separated. His body was located via the signal emitted by an avalanche beacon he was carrying.
The avalanche danger has been running high because fresh snow is sitting on top of “tortilla chips” — snow that sat for weeks during a dry winter stretch, said Bruce Tremper, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center.
“It’s extremely weak and brittle. It’s like putting a brick on a pile of potato chips,” Tremper said.
Four people — two skiers and two snowmobilers — have died in human-triggered avalanches in Utah since Saturday. Three people died in avalanches last weekend in Montana and Idaho.