Silt snowmobiler, 19, killed in avalanche
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A 19-year-old Silt man was killed in a snowmobiling accident Sunday.
Grant Walker, a senior at Rifle High School, was riding with several friends and his brother on Vetter Trail northwest of Sunlight Mountain Resort about 3 p.m. Sunday. As he crossed a slope, the snow gave way and carried him down into a deep gulch, burying him in snow, said Garfield County Sheriff Tom Dalessandri.
No one else was injured in the avalanche.
The group of about six people had taken off from the Four Mile trailhead just west of the ski area and traveled about 10 miles along the trail, Dalessandri said.
“They were playing in the area for the better part of the day,” Dalessandri said.
“A number of them traversed the hillside. It was quite hard-packed, and they were making hardly any trail,” Dalessandri said.
Apparently Walker’s snowmobile triggered the slide, although the other snowmobiles had covered the same ground repeatedly, Dalessandri said.
The slide was described as about 100 to 200 yards wide.
“It was not all that steep, but it slid into a valley and carried the victim into a gulch. There was about 10 feet of snow in the gulch,” he said.
Walker was buried under about a foot of snow, but a part of his snowmobile was visible. He was freed in 15 to 30 minutes, Dalessandri said.
Walker’s companions performed CPR on him, but without success.
Search and Rescue responded about 4 p.m., Dalessandri said, and sheriff’s deputies were on the scene between 6:30 and 7 p.m.
Dalessandri said it took some time to determine where the accident was located.
Monday, students, teachers and staff at Rifle High School were in shock over the accident.
“We’re having a really hard day,” said senior class counselor Rick Schmitz.
He spoke of Walker as “the outdoors type, a kid who loved to hunt and snowmobile.”
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