Avalanche claims first life of 2013

10:15 AM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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An avalanche forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the accident happened in the Raspberry Creek drainage in Gunnison County sometime between 10 a.m. and noon Sunday.

The forecaster said the area has recently become increasingly popular with backcountry enthusiasts.

On Sunday, the avalanche danger for the Gunnison zone was moderate. Forecasters said deeply-buried weak layers were a concern on Sunday, and human-triggered avalanches were possible on slopes of 35 degrees and steeper.

The first two U.S. fatalities of the season occurred on Christmas Eve in California.

A Lake Tahoe-area resort ski patroller, 53-year-old Bill Foster, died in an explosive triggered avalanche.

On the same day, snowboarder Steven Mark Anderson, 49, died in an unpredicted avalanche in a different area.

On December 30, 2012, 49-year-old Patricia Hellman, an off-duty ski patroller with Aspen Skiing Company became the first person in Colorado, and the third person in the U.S. to die in an avalanche. Hellman was swept over a cliff by a small avalanche in the Ships Prow Glades near Snowmass Ski Area.

Authorities have not released the name of the victim in Sunday's accident.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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