Sad News - We Saw The Patrols
Santiago rite bids farewell to man killed in Utah avalanche
By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News
A goodbye ceremony was scheduled for Tuesday night at a Catholic church in Santiago, Chile, for the snowboarder killed Monday in a fall and avalanche near Brighton Ski Resort.
Atilio Giorgio Cremaschi Yazar, 27, was well known among the snowboarding community and participated in many boarding events, including World Cup competitions.
His family said Cremaschi loved sports and played soccer and volleyball in high school, but his passion was snowboarding.
"He was careful. He was always aware about what he was doing. He had a lot of experience as a snowboarder," said his sister, Paty Cremaschi. Atilio was an instructor at Valle Nevado ski resort in Chile. "Atilio was always concerned about his security. He was really careful and he used to take all the precautions needed," said his girlfriend, Andrea Fazio.
Employees at La Tabla Magazine, a snowboarding and skateboarding periodical printed in Chile, said they remember Cremaschi as a person who was really "amped" on snowboarding. "He was very social and friendly," Francisco Javier Gormaz said.
Cremaschi and another man were on Pioneer Ridge Monday about 1:30 p.m. outside the boundaries of Brighton. Cremaschi stopped and took off his board to look over what appeared to be the edge of a cliff to see if he could ride down, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Jaroscak. "He didn't realize he was standing on a cornice," Jaroscak said. "The ground beneath him was hollow." A cornice is an overhang created by wind in which the snow takes the shape of a cresting wave. This cornice was reportedly 40 to 50 feet wide and 5 to 6 feet thick.
When Cremaschi got to the top the snow collapsed under his weight and he fell approximately 100 feet down the side of a cliff that was at a near 90-degree angle, Jaroscak said.
He was then carried another 200 feet over a rocky area by the slide, which was approximately 100 feet wide and 4 feet deep, and was buried. The second man made a quick search of the debris pile, unable to spot Cremaschi, before heading down the mountain to get help, according to a preliminary report from the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center.
At 1:55 p.m. the ski patrol was notified and by 2:21 p.m. they spotted a hand sticking out of the slide, according to the report. Cremaschi was found buried under 18 inches of snow. He was later pronounced dead at University Hospital.
Cremaschi and his partner normally wear avalanche gear, according to the man he was with, but on this day they did not. The friend told investigators they had not intended on boarding in an out-of-bounds area that day, the accident report stated. "The cornice that broke already had foot tracks from other backcountry travelers that were walking around on it earlier in the day.
This may have given the victim a false sense of security," according to the report. But Jaroscak said even avalanche beacons might not have made a difference in this case. "He may have been severely injured in the fall," Jaroscak said. "The autopsy will hopefully show if his fatal injuries were due to compression or asphyxiation."
The avalanche forecast for that day was listed at "moderate to considerable." The man with Cremaschi "was very shaken up and realizes the many mistakes that they made resulted in a tragic ending," according to the Avalanche Center's report. Cremaschi reportedly had traveled to Utah during the past two or three seasons, which is summertime in Chile, to snowboard.