Skier killed in Colorado avalanche, tenth U.S. death this season

Keith Coffman

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - The body of a Colorado skier killed in an avalanche was recovered on Tuesday, the second death in the state from snow slides in as many days, and the tenth in the United States this winter season.

The victim, a man in his 40s whose name was not immediately released, was killed outside the Keystone Ski Resort about 75 miles west of Denver, said Tracy LeClair, spokeswoman for the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

LeClair said the man had been backcountry skiing with a companion on Monday when a 2,000-foot long, 9-foot deep snow slab broke loose and swept the pair down the mountainside.

The surviving skier, who was partially buried, was able to extract himself but was unable to find the other man and notified authorities, she said.

Search and rescue teams, including dogs, scoured the slide area until nightfall Monday before calling off the search.

The search resumed Tuesday morning and around noon the man's body was located, LeClair said, adding that the cause of the slide is under investigation.

The incident marked the fourth avalanche-related death in Colorado this season, and the second reported fatality in the state in two days.

A snowmobiler was killed near Crested Butte, roughly 220 miles southwest of Denver on Monday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The Center has issued an advisory to high-country visitors that avalanche danger is high in the Colorado mountains because of recent heavy snowfalls.

"Cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making are essential," the warning said. "Travel in or below avalanche terrain is not recommended."

Ten people have been killed by snow slides in the U.S. this winter season, according to the avalanche center including deaths occurred in Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho and Washington state.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Alden Bentley)