A group of three snowboarders west of Arapahoe Basin near Loveland Pass triggered an avalanche on Wednesday killing one of the men. 20-year-old Daniel Michelotti was killed when he was partially buried in the event.
According to Summit County Rescue Group, the three were snowboarding in a backcountry area off of Highway 6. Michelotti was in the lead of the trio when he triggered the avalanche. He was carried 1000 feet and nearly completely buried.
The two remaining friends used their snowboards to extricate Michelotti while they awaited search and rescue teams. None of the three carried standard avalanche preparedness gear such as a beacon, shovels or probes.
Summit County Rescue Group, and members of Arapahoe Basin Ski Patrol, Keystone Ski Patrol and the Summit County Ambulance Service all responded to the site.
Michelotti had moved to Colorado in November from Spring Grove, Illinois and was an employee of Breckenridge Ski Resort. The other two men were from Spring Grove as well, one of which arrived in Colorado two days prior.
The mountain snowpack has been very unstable for most of the winter. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the danger was ‘considerable’ for most of the central mountain areas including where Tuesday’s avalanche occurred.
Michelotti becomes the fourth fatality from avalanches this season. The most recent was on February 23rd when a man skiing in the backcountry as part of a group of eight was buried alive by and avalanche near Aspen.