Colorado Avalanche Kills One Skier, Critically Injures Another

A Colorado avalanche killed on skier and critically injured another on Saturday. The avalanche was triggered on a northern Colorado mountain pass.

The incident happened just one day after three people were killed in snowslides across the country, according to authorities.

The men involved in Sunday’s avalanche were cross-country skiing on Cameron Pass, about 135 miles northwest of Denver, reports Reuters.

The skiers were outfitted with avalanche-locator beacons, allowing rescuers on snowmobiles to reach them. Kent Minor, manager of State Forest State Park, stated of the incident:

“There were two sets of ski tracks going in, so the assumption is they caused the avalanche.”

Rescuers were able to arrive at the scene of the avalanche after battling through deep snow and rugged terrain. The first skier they reached was already dead and the second man had been buried for 90 minutes. The rescuers were able to dig him out.

It took the rescuers more than five hours to get the man to a spot where a helicopter could land and airlift him to the hospital. Crews returned to the area the next day to retrieve the dead skier’s body. A dog that was traveling with them could not be located.

The Chicago Tribune notes that Saturday’s incident was the fourth avalanche-related death in the state so far this season. It was the 13th nationwide. There have also been four avalanche-related deaths in the United States in March. They include a snowmobiler in Utah, a skier in Wyoming, and a climber in New Hampshire.

All three were killed in separate snowslides on Friday. In a normal year, 25 people perish in avalanches in the United States. Authorities will likely never know if the skiers in Colorado caused the avalanche, or if it was triggered naturally.

There was no word on what the avalanche conditions were when the incident happened on Saturday.

[Image by Scientif38 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]