Colorado Avalanche Warning, Backcountry Skier Killed On Christmas Eve
Avalanche activity has increased in Colorado and a skier was tragically killed on Christmas Eve.
Backcountry Skier Dies In Avalanche
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, a backcountry skier was killed in an avalanche near Cameron Pass on the southeast end of South Diamond Peak. The accident happened on an east-facing slope below treeline. The CAIC the avalanche broke on a layer of faceted snow one to three feet below the surface and was about 150 feet wide.
The accident, in the Front Range Zone, occurred at an elevation of 10,500 feet. The victim's skiing partner was able to locate him with a transceiver and probe pole, but, unfortunately, he did not survive.
This is a shot looking up at the avalanche from the burial location. The avalanche broke about 150 feet wide and ran almost 100 vertical feet.
A Lucky Weekend Skier Survives
Meanwhile, on Sunday, a backcountry skier was caught in an avalanche in the north San Juan zone near Ophir. The skier was completely buried by snow, but was rescued by friends. The skier was found unconscious, but, ultimately managed to ski out under their own power.
High Avalanche Danger
The CAIC has issued an avalanche warning for most of the Colorado mountains and a special avalanche advisory for the Grand Mesa with high avalanche danger near treeline. While backcountry skiers are advised to stick to low-angle slopes that are not connected to steeper slopes. The CAIC says we have "very dangerous conditions," and travel in backcountry avalanche terrain is not recommended.
Heavy snow and strong winds created extremely dangerous avalanche conditions over the weekend as the CAIC recommended skiers avoid backcountry avalanche terrain. The CAIC says natural and human-triggered wide-breaking avalanches can be expected that run long distances. Avalanches can be triggered- even from flat areas and low-angled slopes below or adjacent to steeper slopes.
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