LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A massive avalanche struck a ski area in the ritzy US resort of Park City, burying at least one person under a mountain of snow, police said.
Unconfirmed media reports said that up to 15 people could have been trapped in the avalanche in the western state of Utah.
Emergency services were scrambling to rescue skiers who may have been engulfed by the 300-500 meter (yard) slide in the Canyon ski area on Friday afternoon, officials of the Summit County Sheriff's department said.
"There has just been an avalanche and there appears to be at least one person trapped," an official, who requested anonymity, told AFP.
The avalanche followed extremely heavy snowfalls across the area over the past 10 days.
Park City is a popular ski resort about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Salt Lake City where the world's premier independent movie showcase, the annual Sundance Film Festival (news - web sites), is due to begin in one week.
Scores of Hollywood celebrities attend the festival, organised by screen star Robert Redford, and ski on the resort's slopes.