- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

LOGAN, Utah (AP) - It has been 20 years since a northern Utah avalanche engulfed and killed three experienced backcountry skiers.

Their friends and people from the search and rescue team that found their bodies now say the tragic events changed them forever and woke them up to the dangers of the backcountry, the Herald Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2jlgiVm).

Alan Dymerski said the rescue team initially thought 36-year-old Keith Maas, 38-year-old Max Lyon, and 29-year-old Karl Mueggler were alive. “We thought, ‘These guys are tough. They’re going to be drinking tea,’ ” he said.

“At the time, we didn’t know it was an avalanche, just a missing, overdue party,” Dymerski said. “We talked about what we had seen when we were skiing and tried to theorize where they might be. We knew they had an objective to ski the Razorback Ridge.”

Searchers picked up a beacon signal that led them to the bodies under several feet of snow. They were found late Jan. 13.

The rescue team built a fire for the night while transportation was set up, Dymerski said.

He described moving the bodies out as somber. “It changed my life forever,” Dymerski said.

Jerry Hughs, who owns a business where Maas worked at the time of his death, said he has been more careful in the years since.

“An avalanche can kill you in a split second, so a device isn’t going to save you from anything,” Hughs said. “The only thing that will save you is using your head.”


Information from: The Herald Journal, https://www.hjnews.com

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