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Snowstorm Sweeps Out of Rockies, Into Plains

January 09, 1987|From United Press International

A storm that dumped up to 30 inches of snow in parts of Utah, burying a ski patrolman in an avalanche, swept out of the Rockies and into the central Plains on Thursday, spreading snow as far east as Kansas.

"It's coming down real good," said Betty Rust, manager of the Butterfly Cafe at Goodland in northwest Kansas, where four inches of snow fell Thursday morning. "It's beautiful. I don't like snow but this is pretty."

The Pacific storm is the second winter storm this week to strike the West and Southwest. The earlier storm left up to 43 inches of snow in higher elevations of northern Utah, and the latest storm dumped as much as 30 inches of new snow at the 10,000-foot level north of Zion National Park in southwest Utah.

Snow Buries Skier

In Snowbird, Utah, a ski patrolman was swept 50 feet down a mountain slope and buried for about eight minutes Thursday before he was pulled from underneath more than two feet of snow.

Jim Collinson, 30, of Sandy, Utah, was inspecting the west-facing slope of Snowbird Ski Resort's Peruvian Gulch ski bowl when an unstable snow mass broke loose and covered him, ski patrol Director Bob Bonar said. Collinson was listed in stable condition at Alta View Hospital.

The U.S. Forest Service said a "high" avalanche hazard existed on the steeper slopes above 7,000 feet on a 130-mile stretch of Utah's Wasatch Mountains, from the Utah-Idaho state line to Spanish Fork near American Fork.

Colorado Gets Snow

Snow fell early Thursday across much of Colorado, northern New Mexico, Kansas and parts of the Oklahoma and northern Texas panhandles.

In New Mexico, 14 inches of snow fell at Red River and seven inches at Angel Fire.

More snow fell in higher elevations, including Wolf Creek in southern Colorado where 17 inches of new snow had accumulated.

"The whole place is going crazy," said Wolf Creek Ski Area spokeswoman Lisa Ross. "This is fantastic skiing."

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