COLORADO SPRINGS — We're learning more about the two snowshoers from Colorado springs who died on Saturday after being caught in an avalanche northwest of Hoosier Pass.
Drake Oversen, 34, was a dentist and U.S. Army veteran in Colorado Springs. He was killed along with Hannah Nash, 25, who was an exercise physiologist with Penrose-St. Francis Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation.
The two, along with their dog Valerie, were caught in an avalanche while snowshoeing in Summit County on Saturday. All three were buried by the avalanche and were found dead by a rescue team. Their identities were released on Sunday night.
Oversen was a dentist at Mountain Vista Dental since March 2019. His career as a dentist started at Fort Carson, where he served as a captain in the army. His co-worker Kathryn Carlson said, "Dr. Oversen cared very much for his patients. He loved traveling. He loved the outdoors. He was not only our co-worker, but he was very much our friend and will be deeply missed."
According to LinkedIn, Nash worked at Centura Health for about 3 and 1/2 years.
A statement from the hospital read, "This loss is deeply felt by our hospital and her close-knit Cardiac Rehab team. Hannah was known for her love of animals, attention to detail, and genuine desire to see her Cardiac patients improve and succeed. Our sympathies go out to her family, friends and loved ones, and all the caregivers who are grieving this unexpected loss."
Oversen and Nash were both members of F45 Training Center in Colorado Springs. On social media today, the organization posted a 1-minute long video of the two working out.
A spokesperson with F45 Training told News5: "They were very impactful, sweet, caring, and energetic. Everybody loved them. Anything good you could say about somebody, you can say about them. The community at F45 is extremely upset."
A spokesperson with the Summit County rescue group said the two were snowshoeing on a trail that is a backcountry dirt road in the summer.
A statement says from the rescue group says: "The two were not carrying a transceiver, probe, or shovel. Many people hike and snowshoe trails in the winter and don't think they need avalanche gear or basic assessment skills. But some trails do cross avalanche paths or below avalanche paths. We need to step up our education game in this area for winter hikers and others. When the CAIC's report comes out in the next couple of days, it may have further information about whether they had avalanche awareness and training or not."
It's also worth noting that if everyone in the party is buried then they cannot rescue each other even if they have the proper gear.
"It's very important to have it just in case that happens. It's very important to know how to use that equipment and practice with it, because a lot of people will have it, thinking they're protected, and then in a very stressful situation, it's very difficult to remember all the things you need to do," said Elaine Smith, the co-owner of Mountain Chalet.
She also said it's important to have a plan in place, and know before you go into the backcountry.
"There's courses that one can take through the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Get really educated about traveling in avalanche terrain. Forecasts are important to follow to see what the weather is doing, what the wind is doing in the area that you're going," said Smith. "Knowing maps, knowing terrain and talking to folks who have been out there on trails is very important too. Get the education that you need before going out."
Mountain Vista Dental says they will be providing grief counseling for employees at their office.
Colorado avalanche staff visited the accident site yesterday and will post a full report on what happened, later this week.
The preliminary report states: "Two snowshoers were reported overdue after an outing on January 8, 2022. With information from the party's friends and family, deputies from the Summit County Sheriffs office, volunteers from the Summit County Rescue Group, and Flight for Life began searching an area west of Hoosier Pass. They found a recent avalanche and a faint track in an area of interest on a flank of North Star Mountain. An avalanche rescue dog located both snowshoers and their dog, all of whom were completely buried by avalanche debris. All three were deceased. The avalanche broke about 400 feet wide ran about 250 vertical feet and broke into old snow layers."