Top 5 stories on, week of April 12 |

Top 5 stories on, week of April 12

A backcountry skier was killed in an avalanche April 15 on Red Peak in the Gore Range north of Silverthorne.
Photo by Greg Hansen

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

1. Skier killed in avalanche north of Silverthorne on Wednesday, when danger was rated moderate

A backcountry skier was killed in an avalanche last week on Red Peak.

Three skiers ascended the mountain from the southeast side and spent a short time on the summit before making their way back down. The skiers were on the upper portion of their planned path, a couloir known as Oh What Big Eyes You Have on the north side of the mountain, when a shallow avalanche broke near the most uphill skier.

The skier standing where the crack occurred did not take a tumble, but the two below him were caught. One skier managed to roll over and right himself onto his skis, but the third skier was carried about 1,800 feet and sustained fatal injuries.

The skiers were all experienced and well-versed in backcountry recreation and were carrying proper backcountry gear.

Sawyer D’Argonne 

2. Summit County Rescue Group saves injured snowboarder off Loveland Pass

The Summit County Rescue Group helped to save a severely injured snowboarder off Loveland Pass last week.

Three members of the rescue team responded to the Clear Creek side of Loveland Pass at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to Charles Pitman, the group’s public information officer. Pitman said two men were snowboarding together when one ended up injured about 100 yards from the top of the pass.

The man’s friend didn’t have any cellphone service, so he made his way down to the road and hitchhiked his way back to the top of the pass to call for help. The Summit rescue team arrived shortly after an ambulance crew from Clear Creek. Crews stabilized the man and carried him down to the road in a carbon-fiber toboggan. In total, the mission took about three hours.

Sawyer D’Argonne

3. Conservation center assesses the impact of COVID-19 on the environment

COVID-19 poses a major threat to human health during this pandemic. However, effects on the natural environment are less black and white. High Country Conservation Center Climate Action Director Jess Hoover said the consequences of the pandemic, such as the shutdown of businesses, presents a unique opportunity to plan for other climate related changes to everyday life. 

“We have an opportunity as a result of the economic shutdown,” Hoover said. “We can choose to move forward and create more sustainable and resilient communities and prepare for the shock that might come from a climate changed world.”

One environmental factor that has improved is air quality. Hoover said that while the conservation center is not actively tracking emissions at this time, state air pollution maps are likely to show a decrease.

Another outcome of the pandemic Hoover listed was a reduction in noise pollution that typically affects both people and wildlife. Noise pollution is often attributed to transportation vehicles like cars and airplanes, which are being used less.

Taylor Sienkiewicz 

4. Summit County man who died later tests positive for coronavirus

The Summit County Coroner’s Office reported that a Silverthorne man in his 60s who tested positive for the novel coronavirus has died.

Summit County officials said in a news release that the man’s cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy. If the man’s death is related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, it would be the first such death in the county.

The man is suspected to have had underlying health conditions, and he died in his home, according to the release. Autopsy results are still pending.

Antonio Olivero 

5. Community responds to recommendations on facial masks

At the beginning of April, the Center for Disease Control added wearing facial coverings in public settings to their list of recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19, a recommendation that has garnered a variety of reactions across Summit County.

Masks or facial coverings used by nonessential workers who are going out in public are meant to be cloth facial coverings rather than surgical masks or N95 respirators which should be preserved for front-line workers. 

Store owners report between 50% and 95% of customers wearing facial coverings. In response to a Facebook post on One Man’s Junk Summit County, some community members responded saying they have seen as few as 25% of people wearing facial coverings in public and as many as 75% of people following the recommendation. People had mixed views on how things have changed since the recommendation was announced.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

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