Parents grateful their son survived Lake County avalanche

9:35 PM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
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TWIN LAKES - Out of the 7 people involved in the Lake County avalanche, 3 of the surviving victims are from the tight-knit community of Twin Lakes.

Carl Bryan, 31, Katie Bryan, 31 and Scott Smelser, 28, all live in the Lake County town.

Smelser's parents drove to Colorado from Kansas as soon as they heard their son was hospitalized after an avalanche.

"The best moment was hearing my son's voice and when I got my hands on him," Smelser's mother Nancy Smelser said.

Scott Smelser is a school teacher in Twin Lakes. He and Carl and Katie Bryans, who run the Twin Lakes General Store, were in the mountains with 4 friends from Wisconsin when an avalanche buried the group of experienced skiers, about a mile from the Laplata parking lot.

"They're all very conscientious and careful," Allen Smelser said. "These were not careless young men at all."

People in Twin Lakes say the victims from that area were no strangers to the slopes and went skiing at least a couple times a week.

The trauma of the avalanche is even more devastating because two of the Wisconsin skiers never made it.

"It was the call that no parent ever wants to get, and my heart just breaks for the moms that got the call that was different from ours," says Nancy Smelser.

Scott Smelser broke his ankle and wrist but is expected to make a full recovery. Officials say the Bryans will also make a full recovery.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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