Skier killed, two others injured in large Colorado avalanche

One man was killed and two were injured in an avalanche that occurred in backcountry of western Colorado.
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 10:50 AM MDT
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MARBLE, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado skier has been killed and two other people were injured after getting caught in a massive backcountry avalanche in western Colorado.

The body of Joel Shute, 36, of Glenwood Springs was recovered Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

Shute had been missing since Friday evening, when he was buried in an avalanche that swept 2,400 feet down a mountainside where the victims were backcountry touring southwest of the town of Marble, authorities said.

The avalanche was two to three feet deep where it began and up to 500 feet wide, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. Rescue teams found the victim’s body buried about four feet deep in avalanche debris, the center said.

A skier and snowboarder who were with Shute survived. The snowboarder hiked out to get help and rescue teams evacuated the injured skier by helicopter. Both were taken to the hospital, the Gunnison County Sheriff’s office said.

Recent storms have raised avalanche risks.

Eighteen people have been killed across the U.S. by avalanches so far this winter. Avalanches last winter killed 37 people, which was the most recorded by the avalanche center in records going back to 1950.