California man identified as Weber Canyon avalanche victim |

California man identified as Weber Canyon avalanche victim

Ryan Barr, 46, of San Diego, remembered as a “devoted husband, father, son and brother”

Ryan Barr, a 46-year-old man from San Diego, California, was identified as the skier who died after becoming buried in an avalanche in Weber Canyon on March 9. He is remembered as a devoted family man.
Courtesy of the Barr family

A 46-year-old California man was identified as the victim of an avalanche that occurred in the Upper Weber Canyon backcountry last week.

Ryan Barr, of San Diego, died after he became buried in a slide that happened around 3:30 p.m. on March 9. The avalanche was triggered by a group of guided skiers, causing two individuals to become caught, carried and buried. 

Barr was found unresponsive in deep snow by first responders. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. An unidentified man was also located. He was transported via medical helicopter to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Felicia Sotelo said the accident occurred near the top of Weber Canyon. Air support arrived first. Summit County Search and Rescue was also deployed. Crews utilized backcountry equipment, such as snowmobiles and a snowcat, to arrive as quickly as possible, Sotelo said, but it took them some time to make it out.

Barr was remembered by loved ones as a “devoted husband, father, son and brother.”

“He was part of a close-knit family, who loved nothing more than to spend family vacations and celebrate birthdays and holidays together. Ryan was loved by all and will be remembered for his big personality, kindness, and ability to light up a room. He worked in commercial real estate and loved skiing, surfing and cooking. He lived life to the fullest and was taken too soon. His wife, Caroline, and young daughter, Anna, will miss him dearly,” a family statement shared by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said.

Few details are available as the Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. The Utah Avalanche Center is also working with authorities to prepare its report.

It is unknown how many people were traveling with the group, according to Sotelo. She was unable to release any information about the business the group was touring with. 

It’s also unclear whether Barr or the others in the group had experience in the backcountry. Sotelo said Barr and the other man who was buried were carrying avalanche beacons, which helped authorities locate them. 

A preliminary report from the Utah Avalanche Center categorized the slide as a hard slab avalanche, which is one of the most dangerous types. It was 400 feet wide and four feet deep.

Avalanche danger was moderate in the Salt Lake area as of Tuesday. Forecasters with the Utah Avalanche Center expected it to increase with this week’s winter storm. They expected soft and hard slabs to develop as well as lingering “new snow” instabilities.

“We would like to remind people that the avalanche danger continues to be high in the backcountry,” Sotelo said. “Please check the online avalanche reports such as the Utah Avalanche Center, become familiar with and know how to use appropriate avalanche gear.”

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