Officials warn of 'widespread, dangerous' avalanche conditions in wake of Vail slide death

By Real Vail
Real AspenJanuary 23, 2012
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is warning that "widespread, dangerous avalanche conditions exist today" and through noon on Tuesday in Colorado's high country. The warning underscores the risky snow-riding conditions after a big weekend storm and the state's second avalanche fatality occurred at Vail on Sunday.

"Triggering avalanches is likely on any snow-covered slope 30 degrees or steeper that did not slide during the natural cycle yesterday {Sunday}," reads the CAIC website. "The natural avalanche cycle has largely run it course, so [CAIC] will drop the Avalanche Warning, but natural avalanches are still possible today [Monday]."

"Triggering slides will be easy today, and some of them will be bigger than what we have seen so far this winter. Triggering avalanches remotely and from low angle or even flat terrain is likely. Be very wary near or below any avalanche terrain, and keep in mind that even small slides can bury and kill you."

The CAIC went on to state that, "Our deepest condolences go out to their friends and family," referring to the slide victim in Vail. The Eagle County Sheriff's Department did not respond to a request for additional information on Sunday.

The Vail Daily identified the 13-year-old victim as Taft Conlin, of Eagle, citing Eagle County coroner Kara Bettis as their source.

The newspaper also cited a statement from Vail Mountain officials saying the the avalanche occurred in closed section of an expert run on the front side of the mountain called Prima Cornice. Vail Ski Patrol got a call at 1:40 p.m., responded and transported Conlin to Vail Valley Medical Center. The incident is still under investigation.

Keith Ames, a 43-year-old Aspen local, was killed in an avalanche on Burnt Mountain at Snowmass ski area last week.

A very dry month of December and sudden surge of January snow has made for an exceptionally weak snowpack. Extreme caution should be exercised in the backcountry and even the side country just outside backcountry access gates at ski areas.

Two more avalanche deaths occurred later in the day Sunday: an Evergreen man died in an in-bounds slide at Mary Jane ski area adjacent to Winter Park in Grand County, and a Fort Collins man died in an avalanche while snowmobiling on the east side of Buffalo Pass near Steamboat.

At 10:50 this morning, the Eagle County Sheriff's Department issued the following press release:

VAIL, Colo. - Jan. 22, 2012 - A 13 year-old male from Colorado was transported to the Vail Valley Medical Center after becoming caught in a skier-triggered avalanche in a closed section of Prima Cornice, an expert-level trail on Vail Mountain. Vail Ski Patrol received a call at approximately 1:40 p.m. and ski patrol responded immediately.

Ski patrol provided advanced life support and transported the patient to an awaiting ambulance. He was then transported to the Vail Valley Medical Center. The incident is under investigation.

The Eagle County Sheriff's Office, Vail Mountain, the Vail Ski Patrol and Vail Resorts extend their deepest sympathy and support to the family and friends of the skier.

comments: 0 Comments on "Officials warn of 'widespread, dangerous' avalanche conditions in wake of Vail slide death"

Be the first to comment below.

Comment Form Info  Comment Information
Real Aspen encourages you to post comments on our articles and blogs. Logged in email is required for monitoring purposes. Your email will not be published and will not be distributed to any third-party. Abusive, obscene, profane, threatening, libelous or defamatory comments are prohibited. By posting a comment, you agree to this policy and our terms of use. To report an abusive posting, please contact us.

To make a comment, please log in or create an account. This helps us prevent spam and other malicious attacks.

Please log in to comment


Create a user account to comment

Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
More Weather Reports
Vail powder day snow snake
Airing it out at Crested Butte
Feb. 17, 2011 Surprise 14 inches of Fresh Powder