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Avalanche claims life of skier near Aspen

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 1:18pm MDT
An avalanche near Aspen claimed the life of a backcountry skier on Tuesday. (File - Wikimedia Commons)

An avalanche near Aspen claimed the life of a backcountry skier on Tuesday. (File Photo - Wikimedia Commons)

The avalanche danger has been high throughout much of Colorado this year and that was highlighted today as rescuers pulled the body of a skier from a slide near Aspen. The victim is the third fatality of the season in Colorado.

Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department officials said the avalanche was triggered at 4:00pm on Tuesday in he Lindley Hut area and 911 received a call at about 6:00pm. The skier was part of a group of eight that supposedly had backcountry experience. Rescuers were on site this morning and pulled the victim out at about 9:00am.

Overall, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) said the avalanche danger was ‘considerable’ across much of the state. The center said that the danger is decreasing but “human triggered avalanches remain probable on steep mid and high elevation slopes.”

Dozens of incidents have been reported this season; two prior to yesterday’s were fatal. On January 6th the season turned deadly near Battle Mountain outside the Vail Ski Area when an out-of-bounds snowboarder died in an avalanche. The second fatality of the season occurred on February 11th in the Ridgway area in southwestern Colorado.

Heavy snow, in particular in the southwestern part of the state, has made conditions ripe for avalanches. Officials urge backcountry users to ensure they have appropriate gear with them and know the dangers of the area they are venturing. At a minimum, experts recommend all members of parties carry an emergency beacon, shovel and probe pole.

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