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Avalanche near Winter Park kills 2 backcountry snowmobilers

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office says it was alerted to the slide on Corona Pass
First responders at the scene of an avalanche Jan. 7 in Grand County. One person was killed and a second was missing after the slide. (Grand County Sheriff's Office, via The Colorado Sun)

Two men were killed in a backcountry avalanche Saturday afternoon near Winter Park.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office says it was alerted to the slide on Corona Pass, in the area of Mount Epworth and Pumphouse Lake, at about 2:15 p.m. “Initial reports were that two snowmobilers had become buried in the avalanche,” the sheriff’s office said.

First responders found a 58-year-old man from northern Colorado. He died after efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says the man was wearing an avalanche transceiver.

“Responders were unable to locate the second buried male victim and were forced to retreat from the area due to weather and safety concerns,” the sheriff’s office said.

The body of the second man, a 52-year-old who also lived in northern Colorado, was found Sunday at about 11 a.m.

The identities of the two men weren’t immediately released.

“Unfortunately, this is the second fatal avalanche that we have experienced this season in Grand County,” Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said in a written statement. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims. We encourage those recreating in our backcountry to regularly monitor the conditions and follow the advice of our avalanche professionals at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.”

The avalanche Saturday is the third fatal avalanche in Colorado in the 2022-23 winter season. All of the deadly slides have happened in the past two weeks.

A 22-year-old man, the son of University of Northern Colorado President Andy Feinstein, died in a backcountry avalanche near Breckenridge Ski Resort on New Year’s Eve. Feinstein and his son, Nick, had exited the ski area to travel down an adjacent backcountry run.

On Dec. 26, a man backcountry snowboarding with his three teenage sons died in an avalanche that caught the entire group. The sons survived.

Colorado’s avalanche danger has been high across much of the state because of recent heavy snowfall.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.