Tragedy struck this weekend in Colorado when a skier was killed near Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains. According to reports, he was participating in an advanced avalanche class Saturday when he was killed. The Durango Herald reported that the skier was 40-year-old Peter Marshall from Longmont, Colorado.
According to an accident summary released by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, all six skiers participating in the course in the Upper Senator Beck Basin northwest of Silverton, were swept away by an initial slide. That initial avalanche triggered a second slide, which buried Marshall beneath more than eight feet of snow.
“The rest of the group located him and extricated him from under at least 2.5 meters of snow,” read the report. “They tried to revive him on site, but were unsuccessful. The rest of the group made their way to U.S. 550 with the help of San Juan County Search and Rescue, Ouray Mountain Rescue, La Plata County Search and Rescue, Careflight, and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.”
#COAvalancheInfo We are saddened to report that Colorado’s first avalanche fatality of the season occurred today in Upper Senator Beck Basin northwest of Red Mountain Pass. We will update the preliminary report https://t.co/w3TXMNiOjp as more information becomes available.
— CAIC:Statewide Info (@COAvalancheInfo) January 6, 2019
The students were participating in a Level 2 course with the Silverton Avalanche School. The death obviously devastated everyone involved. “This tragic accident impacts all of us and our deepest condolences go out to the family,” the school’s staff said in a release. “Our No. 1 priority at this time is ensuring the safety and well being of the family of the victim and the students and staff involved in the accident.”
A significant storm pounded many parts of the western United States this weekend, leaving dangerous avalanche conditions in its wake. This was the first avalanche fatality in Colorado this year and according to Avalanche.org, the third avalanche fatality this winter (a snowmobiler was killed in Montana and another perished in Wyoming). Check your local report for updates on current snow conditions in your area.