Coroner IDs skier killed in Berthoud Pass avalanche

The Grand County coroner has identified the skier who died in an avalanche Saturday on Berthoud Pass as 57-year-old Dariusz Krol of Boulder.

Krol was skiing in the area of Chimney Chute, in the First Creek Drainage of Berthoud Pass, when he disappeared out of sight while some family members were watching him.

Grand County Search and Rescue responded to the area around 5:30 p.m. Saturday and found the aftermath of a recent avalanche. Krol didn’t have a beacon on him, and crews also found googles in the avalanche’s path.

They probed the avalanche path and discovered Krol fully buried before using a 300 foot rope system to lower his body to the trailhead for the Grand County Coroner.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the avalanche occurred on a narrow northeast facing slope below tree line at about 11,000 foot elevation. The trigger has not yet been determined.

CAIC forecasters visited the site Sunday, but haven’t released further information.

This is the fourth avalanche death this season in Colorado. A backcountry skier died in a Dec. 18 avalanche outside Crested Butte and two skiers were killed by a slide outside Silverton the following day.

According to data collected by CAIC, this year’s four fatalities already represent more than half of the six recorded avalanche deaths during the entire 2019-20 season.

Over the past decade, Colorado has averaged 5.9 avalanche fatalities a year.

With more snow falling in Grand County and due to weak snowpack, CAIC issued an avalanche warning for all of the mountain regions from 6 a.m. Monday through 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Grand County Search and Rescue is urging people to be cautious when using the backcountry and to always travel with a beacon, probe and shovel, as well as knowledge of the area and potential dangers.

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