Colorado rescuers follow tracks to find backcountry skiers killed in avalanche

Avalanche on sunny day
(Image credit: Getty)

Search and rescue teams followed ski tracks and used cellphone records to find two men who were killed in an avalanche in Colorado at the weekend.

The two men (who haven't been named) left their accommodation at about 7am on Saturday to go skiing near the Vallecito Reservoir. They were reported missing just after 9pm, and a search team was dispatched.

Just before midnight, a Flight for Life helicopter crew spotted an avalanche near the reservoir, with ski tracks entering but none leaving. 

"La Plata County Search and Rescue found both skiers buried about four feet deep in avalanche debris," said a preliminary report from Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). "Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the people involved in this tragic accident."

Search efforts are also ongoing to find a snowmobile rider, who was reported missing in after another avalanche in Colorado. The person is believed to have been trapped under snow close to the Red Lakes trailhead, near La Manga Pass.

"Staff from the Conejos County Sheriff's Office, USFS, and Conejos County Search and Rescue searched the area on the evening of February 25," said CAIC's preliminary report

"The group returned with more people, avalanche dog teams from the Wolf Creek Ski Area, forecasters from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and many members of the local community on February 26. Search efforts are ongoing."

CAIC warns that heavy snowfall and strong winds battered the Colorado Mountains last week, and although the avalanche danger is slowly decreasing, the key word is 'slowly'. 

"The avalanche danger is moderate (level two of five) across the state, which means you can trigger a dangerous avalanche on specific slopes," said the organization in a Facebook post. "Check the forecast for the area where you intend to travel, get the details, and make a plan that keeps you out of those dangerous areas."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.