Avy victim ID’d as New Castle resident
February 3, 2008
RIFLE – The state’s latest backcountry victim has been identified as a 45-year-old kindhearted man from New Castle.The Glenwood Post-Independent reported that authorities and friends identified him as snowmobiler Douglas Ray Davis.Although Davis was in the backcountry he was on a groomed trail, showing how dangerous conditions can be in such a heavy snow year.More snow was expected Sunday – up to three feet in the southwestern mountains – in a year in which seven people have already died in Colorado alone, counting three still missing. And there have been more close calls.”I wish I could have been there, but there was probably nothing a guy could have done,” said Donnie Smith, a friend of Davis since they grew up in New Castle. He said he cries when he thinks about it, but then it will go away before returning as one of many memories of his friend.”I got pictures of him on the wall. Pictures of him holding my children.”Davis was snowmobiling behind a couple of friends from Arizona.”There was a slide and there was no Doug,” said Smith. Davis was considered an expert rider.Not only are avalanches unpredictable, but heavy snow can make it impossible to carve out the breathing space recommended as a survival technique. Further, 25 percent of fatalities are caused by victims being hit in the head by debris carried by avalanches.This year two people have died of suffocation at the Steamboat ski area, though technically they were considered immersion or non-avalanche related deaths, since they died in tree wells.