An avalanche caught four snowboarders on Berthoud Pass west of Denver, burying two and killing one. The 44-year-old victim was the first person to die in an avalanche in Colorado this winter  He and another snowboarder were fully buried when a slope near Winter Park fell. The slope, referred to as “Nitro Chute,” was located at about 11,500 feet.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office said bystanders and family members were able to rescue one snowboarder but the 44-year-old was dead on the scene. The sheriff’s office shared in a press release“The second subject, a 44-year-old male, was located and unfortunately, lifesaving measures performed by bystanders were unsuccessful and the male was pronounced dead at the scene. The Coroner’s Office is working with the victim’s family. The decedent’s identity and cause and manner of death will be released by the coroner when appropriate.”

The avalanche on Berthoud Pass was one of several triggered by riders on east-facing slopes the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (“CAIC”) was alerted of on Monday. A snowboarder in the same area of the pass triggered an avalanche earlier in the day. Several areas, including Park Range, Grand Mesa, Elk and West Elk Mountains, and the San Juan Mountains, are in an avalanche watch due to “very dangerous avalanche conditions” developing from Tuesday night into Thursday. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center tweeted: “You can trigger large and dangerous avalanches from below slopes or from a distance so be aware of steep slopes overhead or nearby parties. The most dangerous areas are wind-loaded, easterly aspects near and above the treeline.”

Editorial credit: Arina P Habich /

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