Colorado backcountry skier dies in Christmas Eve avalanche: 'Was caught, fully buried, and killed'

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A Colorado skier was killed in an avalanche that struck while the man and a friend were traversing slopes through the backcountry on Christmas Eve, Colorado authorities recently announced.

The skier was with a partner on the southeast end of South Diamond Peak near Cameron Pass around 2 p.m. local time Friday when an avalanche broke the surface, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) reported Saturday. The avalanche broke about one to three feet below the snow surface and was approximately 150 feet wide. 

The skier, whose age and identity have not been released, “was caught, fully buried, and killed,” the CAIC said. 

  • Image 1 of 2

    The crown of the fatal avalanche. The avalanche broke on a layer of faceted snow one to three feet below the snow surface.  (Image taken December 24, 2021, by L. Mouttet/CAIC)

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    Satellite image looking northwest towards South Diamond Peak and Cameron Pass. The red circle indicates the approximate location of the fatal avalanche accident on December 24, 2021.  ((CAIC))

The man’s partner used a transceiver and a probe pole to locate and remove him from the snow, but he could not be saved. His body was ultimately recovered with the help of Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol and Jackson County search and rescue teams. 

“Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family and everyone affected by this tragic accident,” the CAIC wrote. 

Officials have not yet released additional information regarding the death. Diamond Peaks is just over 100 miles from Boulder, Colorado.  

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