Firefighter, teen die in Grand Lake avalanche | AspenTimes.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Firefighter, teen die in Grand Lake avalanche

Rocky Mountain News Staff
Aspen, CO Colorado
Brian Kopp
ALL |

GRAND LAKE, Colo. ” A firefighter from Larkspur was trying to rescue a teenager on his snowmobile when both were buried in avalanche near Grand Lake Saturday.

One other person in the group of snowmobilers escaped.

Brian Kopp, 38, had turned back to help his young friend, 19-year-old Arvada resident Mark Goetz, when he was also caught by the slide near Grand Lake, according to South Metro Fire spokeswoman Becky O’Guin.

Friends described Kopp as a hero who had a passion for helping others.

Fellow firefighter Mike Porter said Kopp was also an expert snow mobile operator. “He was very well versed in snow conditions,” Porter said. “It’s hard to wrap my mind around this because I know he knew it was dangerous up there.”

Porter said Kopp and the Goetz family would frequently go on snowmobile outings, leaving early and returning late at night. And that was the plan Saturday.

But it was clear the post-Christmas outing had turned into a tragedy when a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy showed up at the Kopp family home in Larkspur Saturday night, Porter said.

Beyond his passion for snowmobiles, Kopp was the father of 11-year-old twins, Alan and Elli.

“The guy was full-throttle, all the time, in everything he did,” Porter said. “And he loved being a dad from the start. He loved his kids with every ounce of his being.”

The Grand County sheriff’s office said the avalanche occurred Saturday afternoon as the four Colorado residents were snowmobiling near Gravel Mountain in Grand County.

Kopp and Goetz were declared dead at the scene.

Kopp is survived by his wife Jennifer; son Alan, 11, daughter Elli, 11, his parents, a brother; a sister, three stepbrothers and two stepsisters, according to South Metro Fire.

Recent snows and winds have raised the risk of avalanches in parts of Colorado’s mountains. The risk near Grand Lake, on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, and much of the high country is rated as considerable. The avalanche danger in the central Sawatch Range is slightly higher.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


News

Grizzly Creek Fire emotional experience for evacuees

|

Three longtime residents of the lower Roaring Fork Valley talk about the sinking feeling that built Monday and Tuesday as the Grizzly Creek Fire grew. They are hoping the threat to their neighborhoods has passed.



See more