A skier who triggered an avalanche near Vail on Saturday was able to escape injury by grabbing onto a tree as the slide swept into a gulch and other “high-consequence terrain.” CBS Denver reports the slide occurred northeast of Vail about one mile into the Pitkin Creek drainage from a trailhead near Interstate 70.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the unidentified skier launched from near the top of a ridge at 12,000 feet elevation. The slide broke on the steep slope between 11,600 and 11,800 feet elevation, per the CAIC’s field report.
“They made a few turns before the avalanche broke above them and were able to reach a tree island. The skier held onto a tree as the avalanche washed downslope through high-consequence terrain.”
The incident was witnessed by other people on the opposite side of the drainage who say the avalanche slid all the way to the valley floor. The CAIC rated the avalanche danger in the area Saturday as moderate.