An October blizzard brought more than a foot of snow to Utah’s mountains on the same morning that a 50-mile race began there. Officials had to cancel the DC Peaks 50 and rescue 87 runners due to the bad weather, CBS Salt Lake City affiliate KUTV-TV reported.
The race started in East Mountain Wilderness Park in Kaysville at 5 a.m. Saturday. The route was “designed to take you along trails with the best views in the area,” organizers said, before ending at Tunnel Springs Park in North Salt Lake. The route’s average elevation was 6,604 feet.
However, by 9:30 a.m., 12 to 18 inches of snow had fallen and racers experienced near white-out conditions. Search and rescue teams responded with snow mobiles and 4x4s and assisted 87 runners. Officials suspended the race at the top of Farmington Canyon, which was about 18.4 miles from the starting line, KUTV reported.
All runners have since been accounted for. Some were treated at the base of the mountain for hypothermia — most runners were dressed in just running shoes, shorts and a t-shirt — and released, officials told KUTV.
“Just a friendly reminder to be aware of weather conditions before you head out to enjoy the great outdoors,” Davis County Sheriff’s Office officials wrote on Facebook Saturday.
Sheriff Kelly Sparks reiterated the warning.
“Venturing onto the mountains, trails, and bodies of water at this time of year can be dangerous because the weather changes rapidly and conditions can quickly become life threatening,” he said, according to KUTV. “Even a mild rain in the valley can translate to blizzard conditions at higher elevations.”