Colorado avalanches: Two die in separate avalanches on Valentine’s Day


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A snowboarder was caught in an avalanche Sunday morning near the Loveland Pass Ski area, the CAIC website shows.

The snowboarder was traveling in a backcountry area about 50 miles west of Denver when the avalanche struck around 9:30 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET).

The avalanche ran on an east facing slope east of Mount Trelease at an elevation over 12,000 feet, the preliminary report from CAIC said.

The Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office told CNN affiliate KCNC that the victim was a 57-year-old man from nearby St. Mary’s, Colorado.

Search and Rescue personnel found the victim buried in avalanche debris, according to CAIC.

About 50 miles north, a snowmobiler was caught and killed in a second avalanche west of Rollins Pass on Mount Epworth Sunday, CAIC reported.

The avalanche occurred on an east-facing, above tree line slope, burying the snowmobiler underneath his sled on Pumphouse Lake.

Colorado has seen six avalanche fatalities just this month for a total of ten this season, more than any other state according to the CAIC count.

In December, three backcountry skiers were killed in two separate avalanches a day a part.

Three men, all local officials from Eagle County, Colorado, were killed in an avalanche near Ophir on the first of the month, CNN previously reported.
Two skiers were caught in an avalanche near Vail a few days later, with one digging out and the other dying, according to CAIC.
How to avoid avalanches and what to do if you're caught in one
Fatal avalanches have also been reported in six other states, including a Washington State Trooper who was killed while snowmobiling in Kittitas County, Washington last week and four backcountry skiers who were caught and killed in Utah earlier this month.

Nikki Champion, a forecaster at the Utah Avalanche center told CNN earlier this month that the deadly season could be the result of two reasons — people enjoying more time outdoors and a “really dangerous snowpack.”

This year’s avalanche season has likely been more active because of a “persistent weak layer” of snow, she said.

CNN’s Keith Allen contributed to this report.

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