One man is dead after being trapped in an avalanche while cross-country skiing on the Grand Mesa, Friday. A boulder man, along with a 26–year–old Grand Junction resident, set off on a day trip just after 7:00 AM, despite being warned of unsafe conditions.
Colorado Department of Transportation Avalanche Supervisor Brad Brophy says a C–DOT crew was clearing snow from Highway 65 about two miles south of the Grand Mesa Lodge, and just yards from where the two men were leaving on their cross–country ski trip. They advised the two skiers that the backcountry area was unsafe following 31 inches of snowfall in the past two days.
Then, around 11:00 AM, emergency dispatch received a 9–1–1 call that an avalanche had happened. Minutes later another call came from a C–DOT crew which began helping the 26–year–old from Grand Junction search for his friend.
More than two dozen searchers began combing the base of the slide for the 27–year–old Boulder man. His body was found at the base of a tree around 1:00 PM. The area was not cleared of avalanche danger by c–dot crews.
The boulder man triggered the avalanche after crossing the slope. He was not wearing an avalanche beacon, which slowed efforts to find him. About two dozen people joined in the search to find the man whose name was not released Friday night.
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