Skier Killed in Avalanche After Leaving Breckenridge Resort, CO, Through Backcountry Access Gate

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Image looking across the crown face of the avalanche. Photo: Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

A backcountry skier was killed on Saturday in an avalanche on Peak 10 near Breckenridge, CO. The skier and his partner had left Breckenridge Resort, CO, through a backcountry access gate.

On December 31, 2022, at around 1:00 PM, two sidecountry skiers were caught in an avalanche on Peak 10 southwest of Breckenridge. The two riders exited Breckenridge Ski Resort through a backcountry access gate. They went to an area locally known as the Numbers, a common area for people to leave the ski area and recreate in the backcountry. The Numbers is south to southeast-facing terrain at about 11,600 feet.

The avalanche partially buried Skier 1. He was able to extricate himself from the debris. He could not find Skier 2. Skier 1 returned to a spot where he could get cell phone service and, at 1:40 PM, called 911 to report the accident.

Summit County Rescue Group, Summit County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit, and members of the Breckenridge Ski Patrol responded to the scene. An avalanche rescue dog team found Skier 2 at 3:11 PM. He was, unfortunately, deceased.

Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the people involved in this tragic accident. CAIC staff will visit the accident site on Sunday, January 1, and we will publish a final report in the next week.

CAIC preliminary report

The pair have been identified as Andy and Nick Feinstein, father and son. 22-year-old Nick was the skier who perished.

A map showing the approximate location of the avalanche in the Tenmile Range. The red box marks the avalanche site.

There were several avalanche warnings with high ratings across Colorado on Saturday. The avalanche rating for the Breckenridge area was ‘considerable,’ with large and dangerous avalanches easy to trigger.

A Special Avalanche Advisory is in effect for areas around Berthoud, Loveland, Fremont, and Hoosier Passes for the weekend. Large and dangerous avalanches will be easy to trigger. Traveling in backcountry avalanche terrain requires cautious route finding to stay safe. Avoid travel across or below slopes with a slope angle greater than about 30 degrees.

You can trigger an avalanche that breaks on deeply buried weak snow. The most dangerous slopes are northwest through east to southeast. You can trigger an avalanche from the bottom of a slope or from a distance, so pay attention to steep terrain overhead. You may not see typical signs of instability, like shooting cracks and audible collapsing, before an avalanche breaks.

– CAIC forecast for the Breckenridge area on Saturday

The fatality was the third of winter 2022/23 season in North America and the second in Colorado.

Image of the bed surface looking up toward the crown face of the avalanche. Photo: Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

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