Backcountry Ski Gate in Park City Closed for Good After Avalanche Deaths

Two people died in an area last winter and now an access gate has been closed indefinitely. The area is just outside the boundaries of the resort in Utah, USA, but can still be reached by experts.

The problem is not so much with experience off piste skiers but rather the inexperienced ones who used the gate simply because it was open and because they coud see the area from a chiarlift.

As well as the 2 deaths last winter there have been other fatalities in recent years.

The authorities believed many did not fully understand the risks involved or have the right level of knowledge and the safety equipment to ski in the area known as Dutch Draw.

We reported on the fatalities last season in this report:

Avalanche sign. Image © PlanetSKI

After the closure of the gates a local petition was launched calling for them to be re-opened.

It gained 1,800 signatures.

The resort will re-open a separate backcountry gate by the Peak 5 lift next winter after closing it last season.

“While both exits access the same area, the Peak 5 exit requires more hike-to effort, preparation and intention to reach the terrain,” said the Park City Mountain Resort Chief Operating Officer, Mike Goar

“The Ninety-Nine 90 exit provided lift-served backcountry terrain that was accessible with minimal effort.

“Even with extensive signage, this could attract unprepared backcountry skiers and riders.”

Skiers and snowboarders in the backcountry should always be with a companion and have studied the weather and snow conditions.

They should carry an avalanche transceiver, shove and probe and have experience in using their safety equipment.

Park City Utah

Park City Utah. Image © PlanetSKI.

PlanetSKI visited Park City and Utah in the winter of 2020 and it remains one of our favourite areas to ski in the USA.

See here for our series of reports on Park City and the surrounding area:

We are hoping to visit again next year if conditions allow.