Top 5 most-read stories last week: Skier rescues and deaths, the latest snow report and marjuana potency

A skier shreds at Loveland Ski Area on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. The ski area got 9 inches of fresh snow in a 48-hour period.
Casey Day/Loveland Ski Area

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on in the past week.

1. Afternoon rescue mission turns into 8-hour scramble to save an out-of-bounds skier at Steamboat Resort

A skier who exited Steamboat Resort through a backcountry gate prompted an eight-hour search involving both ski patrol and Routt County Search and Rescue. Search and Rescue began their search at 3:30 p.m. and received word at 11 p.m. that the person self-rescued.

A 23-year-old male skier was lost after skiing down Gate 1 from Tomahawk run that leads to Holy Bowl. Not being familiar with the area, the skier continued down a path that led him even farther away from the resort.

“If you ski Holy Bowl there is an unmarked route that you can take to get back to Baby Powder and lower Tomahawk. If you miss that route back to the area, then typically subjects get funneled down into Storm King drainage which is a very dangerous area to the south of the ski mountain that eventually comes out in Storm Mountain Ranch or Alpine Mountain Ranch,” said Jay Bowman, president of Routt County Search and Rescue. 

— Steamboat Pilot & Today

2. Two dead following separate incidents at Vail Mountain Thursday

Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis has confirmed the deaths of two men involved in separate incidents Thursday, Jan. 12 on Vail Mountain.

One of the incidents, involving a 63 year-old-man from Fort Collins, shut down Game Creek Bowl on the mountain in the afternoon as the man was attended to.

The other, involving a 23-year-old man from Sykesville, Maryland, occurred in the Northwoods area. 

Both guests were transported to Vail Health hospital after Vail Mountain Ski Patrol responded to incidents, where both individuals were pronounced deceased, Vail Mountain spokesperson John Plack said in separate statements on Friday. 

— Vail Daily

3. Three storms, one week: Summit County ski areas prepare for possible foot of snow as southern mountains brace for 40+

Those seeking deep pockets of powder were planning to head to southern Colorado last week as three back-to-back storms descend on the state. But those who stick around Summit County should be in for a treat as snow is expected to fall most days of the week until Friday, Jan. 20. 

Telluride, Purgatory and Wolf Creek resorts were expected to see the most snow throughout the storm system from Sunday to Friday, with estimations of between 30 to 40 inches, according to Summit County forecasts offer a “respectable” amount of snow, according to OpenSnow founder and lead meteorologist Joel Gratz, where between 8 to 16 inches could accumulate during that timeframe. 

“The total snow forecast heavily favors the southern mountains this week with multiple feet of snow,” Gratz wrote in his blog post Sunday. “The central and northern mountains will also get respectable amounts, and even if snow totals aren’t that deep at all mountains, the consistency of the snow is what can lead to softer — and the feeling of deeper-than-expected — conditions.”

Andrew Maciejewski

4. Kentucky man dies after falling in Steamboat tree while skiing Friday

A man died following an incident at Steamboat Resort on Friday, Jan. 13, according to Routt County Coroner Mitch Locke.

The man, a 65-year-old from Kentucky, was skiing with his son Friday morning when he crashed into a tree well. The pair was skiing on the Morningside part of the mountain, according to Loryn Duke, Director of Communications with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Ski Patrol was on scene within a few minutes, and spent a few minutes removing the man from the tree well, according to Deputy Aaron Clock with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. Upon removing the man from the tree well, Clock said patrollers started CPR.

The man was later pronounced dead at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. 

— Steamboat Pilot & Today

5. Higher use, increased potency of marijuana may be affecting Steamboat Springs workforce

The first retail marijuana store in Steamboat Springs opened nine years ago this month, selling legalized recreational pot for adults 21 and older. Now, experts say, a higher use rate, increased potency and perceived normalization of use could be affecting the workplace.

Workers intoxicated from pot while on the job is a prevalent and dangerous nationwide problem, said Ben Cort, CEO of the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat and a treatment and prevention consultant. He added that workers showing up to jobs intoxicated from marijuana can lead to accidents, injuries and poor work performance.

Steamboat Pilot & Today

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