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Experienced skier dies in Summit County avalanche

Experienced skier dies in Summit County avalanche
Posted at 10:45 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 19:43:01-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — One person, who was part of a trio of prepared and experienced backcountry skiers, died in an avalanche Wednesday.

On Wednesday around 1:40 p.m. the Summit County Rescue Group learned that a skier had triggered an avalanche on Red Peak, just north of Silverthorne in the Gore Range.

Authorities initially learned of the avalanche from a personal emergency beacon.

According to the Summit County Rescue Group, three skiers had ascended Red Peak from the southeast side. They spent some time on the summit before starting the descent down a steep, narrow gully that is locally known as Oh What Big Eyes You Have, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

On the way down, a shallow avalanche broke near the upper-most skier. That person was not caught in the slide, but the other two were knocked down. One slid a short distance but was able to get upright onto his skies.

The other skier caught in the slid was carried about 1,800 feet down the gully and was fatally injured, according to the Summit County Rescue Group.

The skiers were experienced and well-versed in backcountry travel. They had also brought proper equipment — beacons, shovels and probe poles, the Summit County Rescue Group said. In addition, one of the people had skied the route several times previously.

Due to the conditions, fading light and distance and terrain rescue crews would need to travel to get to the deceased skier, Summit County Rescue Group decided to not send in a recovery group Wednesday evening.

The group said they will send teams in once conditions are safe.

Many counties that span the high country are asking visitors to avoid traveling to the counties to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus and to keep emergency personnel available for COVID-19-related purposes.

READ MORE: Summit County Rescue Group troubled by crowded trailheads

It’s not clear if the skiers live in Summit County or not.

The Summit County Rescue Group plans to recover the victim of the avalanche on Friday using six or seven SCRG members and CAIC members.