Summit County Coroner’s Office records indicate 22-year-old killed in avalanche in December died of asphyxia and blunt force trauma

The 22-year-old had been skiing out-of-bounds near Breckenridge Ski Resort with his father in a backcountry area known as the Numbers on Dec. 31.

The crown of an avalanche on Peak 10 of the Tenmile Range shows the size of the slab that broke away from a run in the area called The Numbers on Dec. 31, 2022. The avalanche buried a skier, killing them.
Summit County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

The 22-year-old killed in an avalanche in Breckenridge on Dec. 31 died of avalanche-associated asphyxia and blunt force trauma, according to Summit County Coroner’s Office records.

Nicholas Feinstein had been skiing with his father in the backcountry of Peak 10 in an area known locally as the Numbers, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said in a Jan. 9 report on the incident. The manner of death was an accident, coroner’s records state.

Around 12:30 p.m., Feinstein and his father left Breckenridge Ski Resort through a backcountry access point southwest of the Falcon SuperChair, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. 

It was their first time in the area, and the two hiked about 200 feet to the top of an open slope known as Number 5, the report states. The son descended the chute first and stopped near a tree about three-quarters of the way down to watch his father descend, according to the Avalanche Information Center.

After about 10 turns, the father near the middle of the slope triggered the avalanche, which broke well above him, the report states. The avalanche broke 1 to 3 feet deep and 150 feet wide. It ran about 200 vertical feet. When it stopped, the fathers body and face were under the snow, but he could wiggle his hands above his head and managed to dig himself out of the debris after about 20 minutes, according to the report.

After emerging from the snow, the father could not find his son and heard no response when he called for him, according to the Colorado Information Center.  The father tried to call 911 but did not have a cell signal, so he decided he needed to return to the ski area for help, the report states.

The father skied out of the area and two brothers skiing an inbounds run heard his shouts and called ski patrol on an emergency phone at 1:45 p.m., according to the report. By 2:30 p.m., rescuer teams were on scene, the Avalanche Information Center said, and discovered Feinstein’s body a little after 3:10 p.m. buried 3.5 feet deep on the uphill side of a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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