Authorities Identify 5 Snowboarders Killed In Colorado Avalanche - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Authorities Identify 5 Snowboarders Killed In Colorado Avalanche

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE:

GEORGETOWN, Colo. (AP) - Authorities have released the names of five snowboarders who were killed Saturday afternoon in a backcountry avalanche on Colorado's Loveland Pass.
    
Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger identified the victims Sunday as 32-year-old Christopher Peters, of Lakewood; 32-year-old Joseph Timlin, of Gypsum; 33-year-old Ryan Novack, of Boulder; 36-year-old Ian Lanphere, of Crested Butte; and 33-year-old Rick Gaukel, of Estes Park.
    
A sixth snowboarder caught in the avalanche called for help after digging out of the slide, and the bodies were recovered several hours later. The victims all had avalanche beacons.
    
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned skiers and hikers Sunday of potentially dangerous backcountry conditions after several inches of snow fell in the area earlier in the week.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

GEORGETOWN, Colo. (AP) - Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon after apparently triggering a backcountry avalanche on Colorado's Loveland Pass, authorities said.

Search and rescue crews recovered the bodies several hours after the slide, which was about 600 feet wide and eight feet deep, said Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger.

A sixth snowboarder caught in the avalanche was able to dig himself out and call for help, Krueger said. That person's condition wasn't immediately known.

The victims all had avalanche beacons, Krueger added.

Searchers from Clear Creek County, Summit County, an alpine search and rescue team and the Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski resorts located the bodies, Krueger said.

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. 6, which crosses the Continental Divide near the scene of the avalanche, to facilitate the search. The pass is heavily traveled by skiers visiting nearby Arapahoe Basin ski resort.

The bodies were taken to the Clear Creek coroner's office. The victims' identities weren't immediately known.

Krueger said authorities were "pretty sure" the snowboarders triggered the avalanche, which he said traveled about 1,100 feet some 100 yards off U.S. 6.

The avalanche occurred on a spring weekend when many skiers and snowboarders took advantage of late season snowfall in the Rocky Mountains. At least four Colorado ski resorts reopened for the weekend after a snowstorm earlier in the week, and four others were still open for the season.

Loveland Pass, at an elevation of 11,990 feet, is popular among backcountry skiers and snowboarders, and on Saturday, Snowboard Magazine had promoted the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Gathering there for a day of gear demonstrations and shredding.

Treacherous winter weather is not unusual on the pass, which is about 60 miles west of Denver. Skiers and snowboarders in search of fresh snow often hitchhike from lower elevations to the rocky summit above tree line. The area also is popular among photographers and tourists seeking some of the most expansive views in Colorado.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Spencer Logan said there have been weak layers in Colorado's snowpack since early January.

"Our last series of storms made them more active again," he said. "Over the last week and a half, that area got over 18 inches of snow, so if you melted that would be 2 inches of water, so that is a heavy load."

Lisa Clarke Devore, who was headed back to Denver from the resort, told The Associated Press she saw a fire truck and ambulance on the pass, as well two search dogs headed into the area of the slide. She said she saw several ambulances, including one towing snowmobiles, driving toward the pass.

On Thursday, a 38-year-old snowboarder died in an avalanche south of Colorado's Vail Pass. Eagle County sheriff's officials said the man and another snowboarder likely triggered the slide after a friend on a snowmobile dropped them off at the top of Avalanche Bowl.

U.S. avalanche deaths climbed steeply after 1990, averaging 24 a year, as new gear became available for backcountry travel. Until then, avalanches rarely claimed more than a handful of lives each season in records going back to 1950.

___

Associated Press writer Thomas Peipert in Denver contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Some businesses ban E-cigarettes inside

    Some businesses ban E-cigarettes inside

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:14:40 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Grant County Health District passed an ordinance that regulates the sale, distribution, and use of electronic cigarettes. That means starting January 1, 2015, people will no longer be able to smoke e-cigarettes indoors or any other place where regular cigarettes are banned in Grant County.More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Grant County Health District passed an ordinance that regulates the sale, distribution, and use of electronic cigarettes. That means starting January 1, 2015, people will no longer be able to smoke e-cigarettes indoors or any other place where regular cigarettes are banned in Grant County.More >>
  • "No guns allowed" sign stirs controversy

    "No guns allowed" sign stirs controversy

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:59 PM EDT2014-09-17 02:59:38 GMT
    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Buffalo Wild Wings opened it's doors Labor Day weekend in Coeur d'Alene, and on the door is a sign that reads; "Buffalo Wild Wings inc, Bans Guns On These Premises." The sign was met with a mix of responses from people in the area with some, like Dave Allbrook. "I'm okay with that, I think it depends on the owners of the restaurant, whether or not they want to do that."More >>
    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Buffalo Wild Wings opened it's doors Labor Day weekend in Coeur d'Alene, and on the door is a sign that reads; "Buffalo Wild Wings inc, Bans Guns On These Premises." The sign was met with a mix of responses from people in the area with some, like Dave Allbrook. "I'm okay with that, I think it depends on the owners of the restaurant, whether or not they want to do that."More >>
  • Murder trial now in the hands of the jury

    Murder trial now in the hands of the jury

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-09-17 01:29:24 GMT
    Closing arguments in the Charles Capone murder trial wrapped up Tuesday afternoon in Latah County. Capone is accused of murdering his estranged wife Rachael Anderson in 2010 and dumping her body in the Snake River. She has never been found.More >>
    Closing arguments in the Charles Capone murder trial wrapped up Tuesday afternoon in Latah County. Capone is accused of murdering his estranged wife Rachael Anderson in 2010 and dumping her body in the Snake River. She has never been found.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.