Man dies after getting caught in avalanche

Associated Press

ASPEN – A man taking an avalanche awareness class died Sunday after being trapped in a slide outside the boundaries of the Aspen Highlands ski area, sheriff’s officials said.Details of his injuries or how long he was trapped before rescuers reached him were not immediately available. His name, age and hometown were not released until his family could be notified. Pitkin County coroner’s officials were investigating his death.The man was in a group of six people who were part of a class sponsored by the backcountry expedition company Aspen Expeditions, said Ann Stephenson of the Pitkin County sheriff’s office. Early reports were that two people were caught in the slide, but Stephenson said no one else with the man got caught.It was not clear what triggered the avalanche.A man answering the phone at Aspen Expeditions referred all questions to authorities.Early estimates were that the avalanche slid 3,000 vertical feet and was about 100 to 200 yards wide, said mountain weather and avalanche forecaster Scott Toepfer of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.At least 46 people have been caught in Colorado avalanches this season, according to the center. The only other reported avalanche death this season was in January, after a backcountry skier from Steamboat Springs was buried under three feet of snow in an avalanche on Buffalo Pass.The slide Sunday apparently began above the treeline, or above 12,000 feet, in the Five Fingers Bowl, Toepfer said. Avalanche danger for that elevation was rated moderate Sunday.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism