Man killed in East Vail avalanche was standing in a spot “he felt safe” when he was buried, report says |

Man killed in East Vail avalanche was standing in a spot “he felt safe” when he was buried, report says

Johnny Kuo died during a dangerous avalanche cycle that continues with new snow coming over President's Day weekend

Jason Blevins / The Colorado Sun
An avalanche in East Vail's Abraham's Bowl in an area known as Marvin's killed John Kuo on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.
Provided by Vail Ski Patrol

Johnny Kuo had skied East Vail hundreds of times in his many years in the Vail Valley.

A little before noon on Feb. 4 he and a friend planned to ski through a band of cliffs on the side of Marvin’s Bowl in the popular backcountry zone beyond the Vail ski area boundary. Kuo went first and stopped below, at a spot where skiers typically regroup.

It was “a place he felt was safe because he had never seen an avalanche run that far before,” said the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s report detailing the avalanche that killed the well-known Vail skier. The report was released Friday.

“Travel habits developed during usual conditions do not always work during periods when avalanches are breaking wider and running further than you have previously witnessed,” warns the report, researched and written by CAIC avalanche forecasters Mike Cooperstein, Kreston Rohrig and Mike Floyd. “Avalanches and avalanche involvements throughout Colorado prior to this accident demonstrated that backcountry travelers could trigger avalanches from a distance or low on a slope. Observers reported avalanches breaking wider and running further than many had seen previously.”

Read more at The Colorado Sun.

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