Motorcyclist, 65, found dead after disappearing in Maple Canyon snowstorm

The man’s motorcycle was found overnight, hours before his body was found Monday afternoon.

(Utah National Guard) A 65-year-old motorcyclist who went missing in Maple Canyon Sunday was found dead Monday, May 9, 2022, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. About 55 public safety personnel helped search to find him.

A 65-year-old motorcyclist who went missing in Maple Canyon Sunday night was found dead Monday, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Blake Dean Baxter drove up Maple Canyon around 2 p.m. Sunday and later contacted the family to ask for help around 8 p.m., authorities said. A cold front and snow had blown into the mountains where he rode outside of Mapleton.

Around 3 a.m. Monday, the sheriff’s office found Baxter’s motorcycle, helmet and riding gear at an altitude of about 8,200 feet. However, the search for Baxter was called off around 4 a.m. due to whiteout conditions, authorities said.

Baxter’s body was later found around 12:30 p.m. Monday about a mile from where his motorcycle and gear were located, police said.

“He got stuck in the snow,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Spencer Cannon. Hypothermia and a medical condition may have been factors in Baxter’s death, Cannon added Monday night, but authorities are continuing to investigate.

Sam Webber, a weather forecaster with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said most of the state experienced winds between 15 and 30 miles per hour on Sunday afternoon. He noted that the region averaged about 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow.

In Maple Canyon, he said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it were windy up there.” On Monday, the Weather Service reported drier conditions with some showers in and around Mapleton.

About 55 public safety personnel — including a Utah National Guard helicopter and officers on horses — helped locate Baxter.

Cannon found that footprints in the area were difficult to follow due to recent snowfall and rough terrain.

Baxter lived in Hobble Creek Canyon. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office expressed its “sincere condolences” to his family and friends Monday.

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