Dog and helicopter rescue teams helped with the weekend searches near Winter Park, Colo. The danger of avalanche conditions in the area was “considerable” on Saturday.
Two snowmobilers who were in a recreational area near the town of Winter Park, Colo., were buried by an avalanche and killed on Saturday, local emergency responders said.
The body of a 58-year-old man from Northern Colorado was recovered on Saturday and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. Emergency responders could not continue looking for the second body on Saturday because of weather and safety concerns, the sheriff’s office said.
Area residents, along with dog and helicopter rescue teams, helped in the weekend search.
Recovery efforts continued Sunday, and the body of a second man, 52, was found before 11 a.m. The sheriff’s office said that the avalanche was the second fatal one of the season in the county.
“Those recreating in our backcountry are encouraged to regularly monitor the conditions and follow the advice of our avalanche professionals,” Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said in a statement on Facebook.
The two snowmobilers, whose names had not been released by Sunday night, were riding in the area of Mount Epworth and Pumphouse Lake near the town of Winter Park, which is nearly 70 miles west of Denver. Official causes and manners of death will be released by the county coroner’s office, the sheriff’s office said.
Four people were caught in an avalanche in December, and two of them were buried in the snow. A 44-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other person was rescued by bystanders and family.
The avalanche danger was deemed “considerable” for the area on Saturday, according to the forecast from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
“Any steep slope with smooth, bulbous pillows of snow above weak snow at the ground is suspect; a small avalanche can easily trigger a larger more deadly slide,” the information center said. “You may not see any signs of unstable snow like cracking or collapsing before you trigger an avalanche.”
The 2021-22 winter season registered 17 deaths caused by avalanches in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, down from 37 in the previous season.