“Rotten” snow layer cause of rare in-bounds avalanche at Steamboat that buried man — and it’s just the beginning
A rare in-bounds slide at Steamboat ski area on Sunday caught several skiers by surprise, completely burying a 21-year-snowboarder and partially burying another. The group was in an open area when the avalanche released in closed terrain above them, sweeping nearby skiers off their feet.
Patrollers were on scene and digging the man from the snow within seven minutes of receiving the call from a witness who described the avalanche between the expert Chutes 1 and 2 and the intermediate Big Meadow run near the top of the ski area. His friends used poles to probe and located the man’s snowboard.
They had partially exposed the bottom of his board when patrollers arrived and started digging. He was free from the snow within nine minutes of the call. Patrollers began resuscitation efforts, and the man was quickly revived and talking as they loaded him into a sled for transport. The patrollers canceled their call for an emergency helicopter.
“He just kept thanking us,” said Dave Hunter, Steamboat’s head of operations, who met the patrollers as they hauled the victim down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. The man was released from Yampa Valley Medical Center on Sunday night, Hunter said.
With the first big storm of the ski season pounding the high country over the weekend, the rotten layer of snow from October proved it will be a danger for the rest of the season. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center recorded almost 80 avalanches across the state since last Thursday when the storm arrived.
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