2 people killed after avalanche reported at Mount Epworth

Two snowmobilers died after being caught and buried by an avalanche Saturday, the third instance of a fatal avalanche this season - and the third and fourth death, respectively.

The snowmobilers triggered the avalanche around 2 p.m. Saturday on the east face of Mount Epworth, about 6 miles east of Winter Park.

One of the riders, a 58-year-old from northern Colorado, was found by other snowmobilers since they had a transponder, but CPR efforts were unsuccessful. The other rider, a 52-year-old northern Colorado, was not found by rescue crews before nightfall Saturday, but was found Sunday afternoon.

 / Credit: Grand County Sheriff's Deputies and Grand County search and rescue
/ Credit: Grand County Sheriff's Deputies and Grand County search and rescue

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the people involved in this tragic accident," the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said in a statement Sunday.

The avalanche itself happened around 11,600 feet, according to the CAIC. That organization, which tracks avalanches and informs people about them, described common traits in terrain that are seen in some avalanches:

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"The Colorado snowpack is currently very dangerous and will remain so for many weeks," they said. "You are unlikely to get obvious signs of instability like natural avalanches, cracking, and collapsing. A glass-like shattering of the slab and thick blocks of snow dragging you into an unsurvivable avalanche could be the first sign of instability you get. The most dangerous slopes face easterly, where winds have drifted thick slabs, but weak layers are present on most aspects. Many slopes are being triggered remotely or from a distance. During this period of very high consequences, avoid being on, under or close to slopes steeper than about 30 degrees unless you know there is no weak layer beneath you. "

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