A large avalanche in Colorado has claimed the lives of two skiers. Three other skiers were injured. This avalanche makes the third one to strike Colorado in a week.
The avalanche occurred on Star Mountain near Leadville and was triggered by several skiers who were on the hill at the time. Two skiers were originally listed as missing but their bodies were found in a search that took place Saturday evening. The bodies of the deceased skiers were found near the top of the avalanche thanks to beacons that the skiers were wearing.
The three skiers who were injured in the avalanche were taken to a nearby hospital where they were treated for injuries that included a broken leg, a broken ankle and a possible broken rib and collapsed lung. One of the skiers has already been discharged and the authorities are not releasing any names at this time.
According to Susan Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Lake County Office of Emergency Management, the recent increase in avalanches in Colorado is being caused by the increase in snowfall. She said,
"We've had a much larger than average snowfall for this time of year. My advice would be that anyone who does want to do backcountry skiing be totally prepared. Taking an avalanche education course would be really, really helpful. Being fully prepared with proper equipment, proper clothing, food, water and beacons."
Skiers are often caught up in avalanches, but if they know how to escape or avoid one, they are more likely to survive. Earlier this week, six people were killed in a string of other avalanches. These accidents have prompted The Colorado Avalanche Information Center to release a warning saying that the recent snowpack is teetering on the brink of critical mass and is situated on top of a weak surface layer. These conditions can cause unexpected avalanches. If you plan to go skiing in Colorado or any other area, be sure to protect yourself and watch for avalanches.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.