Valentine’s Day Avalanches Kill Two In Colorado
Valentine's Day was a fatal day in Colorado's high country.
Separate avalanches on Sunday killed two people in the Colorado mountains. Early Sunday morning, the CAIC issued a special avalanche advisory for Sunday and Monday noting that avalanche conditions were "unusual" and urged backcountry travelers to take extra precautions saying "your normal routes and safety habits may not keep you out of a dangerous avalanche."
According to the Colorado Avalanche Center, a backcountry snowboarder traveling alone was caught, buried, and killed in an avalanche Sunday morning at approximately 9:30. Search and rescue found the snowboarder buried with a deployed avalanche airbag. The avalanche occurred north of Loveland Pass on an east-facing slope above treeline, on a terrain feature known as Pat's Knob, elevation 12304. east of Mount Trelease.
In a separate incident on Sunday, a snowmobiler was caught and killed in an avalanche west of Rollins Pass, east of Fraser. The CAIC reports when the avalanche stopped, the snowmobiler was buried underneath his sled on Pumphouse Lake.
On Saturday, a snowboarder survived an avalanche in the East Vail backcountry. The CAIC says the individual was carried through the trees and buried with his head covered by about 1 1/2 feet of snow. The snowboarder was able to create an air pocket in front of his face and get his AvaLung in his mouth. His partner was able to reach him in 10-15 minutes and the snowboarder was not seriously injured.
The weekend fatalities bring to 10 the number of people killed in Colorado avalanches this season. Last year, six people were killed in Colorado avalanches and in the 2018-2019 season, a total of 8 people died in snowslides.