Skier escapes Berthoud Pass avalanche with minor injuries | SkyHiNews.com

Skier escapes Berthoud Pass avalanche with minor injuries

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

This still photo, taken from a video of the incident, shows the avalanche crown and skier moments after the avalanche began.

A skier escaped with minor injuries after triggering an avalanche on Berthoud Pass on Friday, March 25.

The avalanche occurred above the First Creek area and buried the skier to their chest, according to a report the skier submitted to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

CAIC did not release any information about the skier.

According to the report, a group of four experienced skiers had skied multiple laps in the trees at lower First Creek early on Friday when they decided to move up in elevation.

The group observed some wind loading.

The skiers dug a snow pit around 11,000 feet on the north to northeast aspect they planned to ski and snow tests showed little movement. Ski cuts also produced no movement.

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The victim was the first skier to descend the aspect, and three spotters were set up in various locations.

The avalanche fracture started below the lowest ski cut on the slope behind the skier, who heard a fellow skier yell.

The skier turned right toward their safe zone but hit a rock under the snow that knocked the skier back into the slide path.

The avalanche carried the skier around 60 yards down the slope. The skier was buried up to the chest, lost one ski and suffered a pulled leg muscle.

The avalanche crown was approximately 50 feet wide and left a debris path around 100 feet wide.

A video posted to the CAIC website shows the skier triggering the avalanche.

Greg Foley with Grand County Search and Rescue said his organization had recovered a fatality from the same area around 30 years ago. GCSAR did not to respond to this avalanche.

Recent storms and heavy snowfall in the Front Range had increased the risk of storm slab avalanches last weekend, according to CAIC.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-557-6010.

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