Search underway following a deadly avalanche in Eagle County | SkyHiNews.com
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Search underway following a deadly avalanche in Eagle County

Vail Daily staff report

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that searchers are actively looking for two men following a deadly avalanche near Muddy Pass on Saturday afternoon.

Three people were caught in the slide, which took place approximately 10 miles north of Vail, with one managing to dig out. Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek released this statement through a public information officer: “It appears snowmobilers may have triggered the avalanche. One individual was able to free himself and contact authorities. Currently, there is an active search and recovery mission for the other two individuals involved.”

The Eagle County Sheriff’s offices released the following statement on at 11:50 a.m. on Sunday
 
“On Saturday, February 15, 2020, at approximately 4:45 p.m. the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an avalanche in the area of Muddy Pass North of Vail, CO.

“At this time it appears that a group of three individuals snowmobiling in the backcountry may have triggered the avalanche. One individual was able to free himself and contacted authorities. Currently, there is an active search and recovery mission underway for the other two individuals involved.

“There are several agencies working collaboratively on this incident.

“Snowstorms pile up one after the other all winter long. Wind blows snow off of some slopes and on to others. Temperature changes cause snow crystals to metamorphose. If the snow’s consistency remains constant, the snowpack is homogenous and stable. It’s when the snowpack develops different layers of different snow types that it becomes unstable and hazardous. It is extremely important for the backcountry traveler (especially on slopes between 30 and 45 degrees) to take the time to analyze the layers of the snowpack and test their stability.
 
“According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center the back country avalanche forecast in Eagle County is rated as considerable. This means that there are dangerous avalanche conditions and that cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making is essential.”

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports that over the past three days, there have been reports of 20 natural and human triggered avalanches large enough to kill a person. Some of these avalanches were even large enough to snap trees in half.

This story will be updated.


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