A snowboarder was seriously injured after getting carried by a human-triggered avalanche at East Waterfall Canyon near Ophir, Colorado.
According to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s office, deputies and more than three dozen search and rescue volunteers responded to a report of a snowboarded who got caught in an avalanche and struck a tree. The call for help came in after 1:00 PM on Thursday.
The snowboarder, a local man in his 30s, was partially buried in the avalanche that initiated on a northwest-facing slope at 11,500 feet in old snow layers about two feet deep. It was about 150 feet wide and ran about 1,500 feet.
The seriously injured snowboarder was evacuated and transported to the Telluride Airport by helicopter. He was then transported by helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital. The extent of his injuries are unknown at this time.
Sheriff Bill Masters reminded everyone the dangers of the backcountry stating, “especially in light of COVID-19 when our local resources are stretched and incidents like this stretch them even more. People need to use their friggin’ heads.”
The name of the person involved has not been released. Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) forecasters will be conducting a detailed investigation.
Editor’s Note: Please stay out of the backcountry right now. Avalanches can occur without warning. First responders and search and rescue teams responding to emergency situations are already putting themselves at risk, and now are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe, practice social distancing, and check the daily avalanche forecast at colorado.gov/avalanche.
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