A backcountry skier was found “fully buried” in an avalanche near Cameron Pass in the Rocky Mountains on Christmas Eve (December 24), marking Colorado’s first avalanche death of the 2021-2022 avalanche season, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) confirmed via CNN.
Investigators said the estimated 150-wide avalanche took place at around 2:00 p.m. local time on the southeast end of South Diamond Peak on the Rockies, which make up the largest mountain system in North America.
“The victim’s partner was able to locate him with a transceiver and probe pole and extricate him from the snow, but he did not survive,” the CAIC said in a news release obtained by CNN on Saturday (December 25).
CAIC confirmed an investigation into the cause of the avalanche is ongoing and the victim’s identity has not been released publicly as of Saturday.
“Our deepest condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragic accident,” CAIC said in the statement via CNN. “Be very careful if you’re traveling in the mountains over the next few days.”
CAIC officials report 12 individuals have died from avalanche related incidents in Colorado during the 2020-21 avalanche season, while an average of 27 people have died annually during the past 10 winters.
Another skier was found dead in an avalanche in Silver Basin, a closed area of Crystal Mountain, Washington, on December 11, marking the first death of the 2021-22 avalanche season in the United States, the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) confirmed via BackcountryMagazine.com.
Additionally, an estimated 150 people are killed annually in avalanche related incidents worldwide.