A 58-year-old man died and another man is missing after they were struck by an avalanche in the north-central Rocky Mountains on Saturday, Colorado authorities said.
The couple were riding snowmobiles when a snow wave struck them on the east face of Mount Epworth in Grand County, about 6 miles east of Winter Park, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The avalanche was reported around 2:15 p.m., and responding sheriff’s deputies, search and rescue teams, ski patrol members, and local Good Samaritans found the 58-year-old northern Colorado man buried. in the snow, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office said. .
They were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene, the office said in a statement. The man’s identity was expected to be released later by the county coroner, he said.
The other cyclist could not be located and first responders had to stop the search when the weather turned bad, the sheriff’s office said. Rescuers plan to relaunch their efforts on Sunday.
The avalanche center said the 58-year-old man was located with the help of his transceiver, designed to transmit the location of visitors lost or buried in the mountains.
The missing man did not have an avalanche transceiver, the avalanche center said.
The National Weather Service reported high temperatures in the area below 30 degrees, with overnight lows in the single digits.
There have been three Colorado avalanche deaths since Dec. 26, according to data from the avalanche center, two of which have been in Grand County.
“We encourage those who recreate our countryside to regularly monitor conditions and follow the advice of our avalanche professionals at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center,” County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said in a statement.
On New Year’s Eve, a father and his adult son were cross-country skiing when they were hit by an avalanche near Breckenridge Ski Resort, about 65 miles south of Winter Park.
The father was able to get out, according to the Summit County Rescue Group, but his son was buried and his body was recovered approximately two hours later.
On December 26, four backcountry bikers, including skiers and snowboarders, were struck by an avalanche unintentionally set off by a snowboarder near Berthoud Pass, about 55 miles west of Denver, the avalanche center said. Two were buried, and one of those two died, he said.
The avalanche center said the passengers included a father, who died, and his three teenage children. Authorities later identified the father as Brian Bunnell, 44, of Lakewood, Colorado, according to the NBC affiliate. KUSA from denver
The Rocky Mountains have been repeatedly buffeted by Pacific storms fed by an atmospheric river of precipitation drawn from tropical climates. The avalanche center said another such front was expected on Tuesday.
Snow can accumulate in areas favored by many backcountry skiers. The two fatal avalanches in December occurred in areas that were easily accessible areas, KUSA informed.
«Within the ski area limits, we have very dedicated ski patrols and snow safety teams that will work very hard to mitigate avalanche threats within the ski area limits,» said Brian Lazar, deputy director of the center. of avalanches, to the station last month. «Right on the other end of that rope there is no one doing that job.»
Of the 20 people caught in avalanches during the 2021-22 season, seven died, according to the avalanche center.