SnowBrains is saddened to report that 5 backcountry snowboarders have perished in a large avalanche near Loveland Ski Area in Colorado yesterday. This was the deadliest avalanche in Colorado since 1962. Please stay safe out there. Avalanche season is not over.
The avalanche struck around 1pm Saturday, April 20th, 2013 near Loveland Pass (11,990 feet) in Colorado. 5 backcountry snowboarders were trapped and killed in the avalanche. One person in the group survived and is reportedly uninjured. The avalanche is reported to have measured around 8 feet deep, 750 feet wide, and 1,100 feet long.
“Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Spencer Logan said there have been weak layers in Colorado’s snowpack since early January, and forecasters have said they’re seeing the worst avalanche danger in 30 years.” – San Jose Mercury
Colorado snow country has received anywhere from 18-30” in the past week.
“Our last series of storms made them more active again. Over the last week and a half, that area got over 18 inches of snow, so if you melted that that would be 2 inches of water, so that is a heavy load.” – Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Spencer Logan
It’s been a difficult avalanche season for Colorado in 2012/13.
2012/13 COLORADO AVALANCHE STATISTICS:
– 11 people killed in avalanches (nearly half of all USA fatalities)
– 42 people caught in avalanches
“I feel really bad for these guys. I think they were trying to do a lot of things right. These weren’t guys who were reckless and didn’t care. They all had gear, and I think they cared about making good decisions,” said Tim Brown, a Summit County avalanche forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center/Denver Post
Another snowboarder was also killed in an avalanche on Thursday, April 18th, 2013, in Avalanche Bowl just south of Vail Pass, Colorado.
“U.S. avalanche deaths climbed steeply around 1990 to an average of around 24 a year as new gear became available for backcountry travel. Until then, avalanches rarely claimed more than a handful of lives each season in records going back to 1950.” – San Jose Mercury
This was Colorado’s deadliest avalanche since 1962, when 7 people were killed on January 21st at Twin Lakes near Independence Pass.
Colorado has experienced 11 avalanche deaths during the 2012/13 winter season. This totals nearly half of the 24 fatalities recorded this season in the USA.
SnowBrains sends our deepest condolences to the friends and families of the deceased. Please stay safe out there. Avalanche season is not yet over.