Two men were killed by an avalanche while skiing the backcountry in Colorado on Saturday. The men set out near Vallecito Reservoir that morning, in full avalanche gear, with the intention of returning the same day, but when they hadn't come back by evening, someone reported them missing, the Durango Herald reports. Their vehicle was found where they'd left it that morning, and after following cellphone records and ski tracks and using avalanche beacon technology, a single ski was located around 3am Sunday, KKCO reports. The men, who have not yet been identified, were then found buried under about four feet of snow.
"Because it was a burn scar" where the men were skiing, "the lack of trees may have been a contributing factor," says a Colorado Search and Rescue Association spokesperson. Areas above the tree line in the region where the men were skiing were rated a "considerable" avalanche risk Sunday, while lower areas were rated only a moderate risk. "This is one of three avalanche accidents that happened in the state Saturday, and so we're very concerned about the trends we’re seeing," the spokesperson says. During the 2022-23 ski season in Colorado, avalanches have now killed six people. Others have been caught or buried in avalanches in the state this season but survived. (Read more Colorado stories.)