Avalanche kills one in Oakley | ParkRecord.com

Avalanche kills one in Oakley

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

David Balls was killed by an avalanche while snowmobiling on Tuesday.

An Oakley man died while snowmobiling Christmas Day when he was buried by a massive avalanche triggered at Thousand Peaks Ranch east of Oakley, authorities said.

"It’s a very large avalanche," said Craig Gordon, who provides slide forecasts in the Uinta Mountains for the Utah Avalanche Center.

The avalanche Tuesday measured nearly 1000 feet wide and four feet deep, Gordon said in a telephone interview.

The "gigantic" slide near Oakley was more than five times the size of an avalanche that killed a 30-year-old man Sunday at The Canyons resort, Gordon said.

Oakley resident Dave Balls, who was in his 50s, was snowmobiling with a group of friends around 2:30 p.m. when the snow reportedly broke loose.

Balls and his machine were buried in the avalanche and friends and family members attempted to rescue him.

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"After more than two hours of being buried, the victim was found, but was unconscious and not breathing," a press release from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office states.

The man was pronounced dead after he was flown to an area hospital. Gordon said that avalanche was human-triggered.

Avalanche danger in the Uinta Mountains was considerable Tuesday.

According to the press release, "the area had received a large amount of fresh snow over the past few days."