Bodies of 3 Skiers Located After Huge Avalanche Near Silverton, CO on Monday

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avalanche, colorado, silverton, Ophir,
Figure 1: An overview of the accident site. The red line marks the general path of the group, down the slope and then down the gully. The blue lines mark the approximate boundaries of the avalanche. The large avalanche on the left caught the group of skiers. The small avalanche on the right released sympathetically. (Image courtesy of Telluride Helitrax)

The bodies of the three skiers missing following an avalanche near Silverton, CO, on Monday were located late on Tuesday. The bodies were not extracted at that time due to the hazardous conditions, but officials have said they are hoping for a successful recovery mission today, Wednesday, February 3rd.

Preliminary Report from CAIC: On February 1, 2021, a group of backcountry skiers triggered a large avalanche between the towns of Silverton and Ophir. They were traveling near an area locally known as The Nose. There were seven skiers in the group. Four people were caught, carried, and fully buried in the debris. The group recovered one person with minor injuries. The other three people are still missing. Search and rescue operations lasted into the night, continued on February 2, and were suspended on the evening of February 2 due to avalanche hazard. Efforts will resume when rescuers feel it is safe to access the site. The avalanche released on a northeast-facing slope around 11,500 feet in elevation (near treeline). 

We will update this report as more information becomes available.

The 3 victims have been confirmed as Eagle County, CO locals, report the Vail Daily.

The incident is the deadliest avalanche in Colorado since 2013, when six skiers were caught in an avalanche near Loveland Pass. Five skiers were buried and killed that day, according to the CAIC.

There have been ten avalanche deaths in the United States this winter season. Last season there were 23.

avalanche, colorado, silverton, Ophir,
Figure 2: Looking across at the avalanche that caught four skiers on February 1, 2021. Their ski tracks are visible to the right of the avalanche, but where they entered into the gully is obscured by trees. Further to the right you can see a second, smaller avalanche, that released sympathetically to the first.
avalanche, colorado, silverton
Credit: CAIC
colorado, avalanche, silverton
Credit: CAIC

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