2 people have died in Colorado avalanches in less than 2 weeks

(CNN) — In less than two weeks, two men have died in avalanches while skiing in Telluride, Colorado.

The most recent death took place over the weekend when a man, who has not been identified, was found Monday after being reported missing.

The man had been backcountry skiing in an area south of the ski resort town with his dog Sunday, according to a news release from the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office. Later that afternoon, the man’s dog was found barking by the man’s vehicle. Deputies then learned he had not returned from skiing.

After searching by air, rescuers found that two avalanches had hit the area. Because of weather and nightfall, the rescuers were unable to find the man Sunday, the sheriff’s office said in its news release.

He was found Monday in the aftermath of an avalanche “estimated to be 100 feet wide by 800 feet long on terrain.” It took more than two dozen people to find him, the release said.

“A Colorado Avalanche Information Center spokesperson told the Sheriff’s Office that they classified the slide as ‘destructive and large enough to bury, injure or kill a person,'” the release said.

Another man, Salvador Garcia-Atance, 47, was killed during an avalanche in February, according to a separate news release from the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office. That avalanche, the release said, ran about 75 feet wide leaving a debris field 300 feet long and 15 to 20 feet deep.

Garcia-Atance was said to have been skiing near a trail known as Bear Creek. It took nearly 24 hours, “dozens of rescuers, avalanche dogs” and helicopters to find Garcia-Atance, the sheriff’s office said.

“Whether you are walking your dog, skinning up, or backcountry skiing, Bear Creek is not a safe place to be,” Sheriff Bill Masters said at the time because of new snow that was expected to contribute to the continuing avalanche danger.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up