We’re sad to report that 3 skier deaths were reported in Colorado over the last few days. One death occurred in the Anthracite Range near Crested Butte, and two other deaths were reported at an area called, “The Battleship” near Silverton, CO.
Here are the preliminary reports for each incident as reported by the CAIC:
“Two backcountry skiers were reported overdue on the evening of Saturday, December 19. The pair had planned to ski in an area locally known as the Battleship, southeast of Ophir Pass. In the dark from a helicopter, rescuers could see a large avalanche and ski tracks. The two skier were later found buried in the avalanche debris. San Juan County Search and Rescue and other agencies recovered the bodies on December 20.
Our sincere condolences to all the friends and family of the victims.”
Crested Butte Incident:
A solo skier (Skier 1) was buried and killed in an avalanche on the northeast end of the Anthracite Range, in an area locally referred to as Friendly Finish. On the ridge prior to descending, Skier 1 spoke with another group of two skiers (Skiers 2 and 3) about their respective descent plans.
Skiers 2 and 3 completed their descent and returned to their parked snowmobile, only to find Skier 1’s snowmobile still parked without any sign of Skier 1. Skier 2 and 3 snowmobiled to a place where they could get a view of Skier 1’s planned descent route and they saw a fresh avalanche. They skied up to the scene of the avalanche, and located Skier 1 with a transceiver search. They extricated Skier 1, but he tragically did not survive the event. Local volunteers and Crested Butte Search and Rescue facilitated the recovery and extrication.
Our sincere condolences to all the friends and family of the victim.
The CAIC is showing “Considerable Risk” in its avalanche forecast for all zone across Colorado.
Again, our condolences to the victims, and their families involved in these tragic incidents.
It might go without being said, but right now doesn’t seem like a safe time to ski in Colorado’s backcountry.
You can learn more about the incidents here.