Backcountry Skier Dies After Being Buried in Colorado Avalanche on Christmas Eve

A backcountry skier in Colorado was pronounced dead after being buried alive by an avalanche, marking the latest ski-related death in the area.

The area around Cameron Pass in Colorado

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The area around Cameron Pass in Colorado

A backcountry skier in Colorado died after being buried by an avalanche on Christmas Eve, CNN reports.

The unnamed skier was on South Diamond Peak near Cameron Pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains when a 150 foot-wide avalanche came down around 2 p.m. local time on the peak’s southeast end, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center shared in a release. 

“The victim’s partner was able to locate him with a transceiver and probe pole and extricate him from the snow, but he did not survive,” the CAIC wrote. “… Our deepest condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragic accident,” the CAIC shared. “Be very careful if you’re traveling in the mountains over the next few days.”

The avalanche’s cause is under investigation, and marks the first Colorado avalanche death of the 2021-22 season. Last season, 12 people died in the state, which marked the most in a decade, per CNN. The CAIC shared that an average of 27 people died in avalanches in the U.S. over the last decade. 

“What everybody has in common is that desire to really experience the mountains in kind of a raw and ungroomed, unkempt manner,” Ethan Greene, the director of CAIC, told KMGH. “Unfortunately, once you get caught, you just don’t have that many options. Your chance of survival drops precipitously.”

The outlet reports that this marks the third skier death in Colorado in recent weeks, following a 72-year-old’s Nov. 30 crash with a snowboarder and a 60-year-old’s crash into a tree just a week later at the same skiing area.

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