Two snowmobilers died after being caught and buried by an avalanche Saturday, the third fatal avalanche this season and third and fourth deaths, respectively,.
Authorities said 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 them, a 58-year-old from northern Colorado, was found by other snowmobilers since they had a transponder, but CPR efforts were unsuccessful. The other snowmobiler, a 52-year-old from northern Colorado, was found by rescue crews Sunday afternoon.
“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 at around 11,600 feet, according to the CAIC. That organization, which tracks avalanches and informs people about them, described common traits in terrain in some avalanches:
“The Colorado snowpack is currently very dangerous and will remain so for many weeks,” the group 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. ”