Snowboarder Blake Ford Dies After Triggering Avalanche in 'Hell's Canyon'

Image: Ski Patrol members look over the trigger area
Ski Patrol members look over the trigger area of an avalanche that killed two people in an out of bounds area of Snowbasin known as Hell's Canyon.Scott G Winterton / Deseret News

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A snowboarder in an out-of-bounds area of a Utah ski resort was killed Wednesday after triggering an avalanche, authorities said.

Blake Ford, 21, and a friend had cut off-course to a steep, rocky and narrow part of Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah called Hell's Canyon. After making several turns, Ford triggered the slide, according to authorities.

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"When Blake dropped into Hell's Canyon, his friend basically stopped and he saw the break and a cloud of snow following behind Blake," Lt. Brandon Toll with the Weber County Sheriff's Office told NBC News. The friend, whose identity was not made public, was not injured.

The 1,800-foot avalanche happened at 10:44 a.m. local time, Toll said. Ford's body was found at the bottom of the avalanche by a snow basin canine under about three feet of snow.

Ford, of Morgan County, Utah, was not wearing any avalanche gear at the time.

Warmer weather Thursday could mean more avalanches, forecaster Evelyn Lees with the Utah Avalanche Center told NBC News affiliate KSL.

It will "become very easy for people on steep, sunny slopes to trigger avalanches," she said.


—Elizabeth Chuck