In Brief: Backcountry snowboarder killed in avalanche near Marble; Cottonwood Pass safety measures |

In Brief: Backcountry snowboarder killed in avalanche near Marble; Cottonwood Pass safety measures

This image from CDOT’s shows the Cottonwood Pass sections where safety improvements would be made to better accommodate local detour traffic during Interstate 70 closures.
CDOT presentation screenshot

Man killed, two injured in avalanche in Gunnison County

An avalanche caught three backcountry tourers, killing one of them, southwest of Marble in Gunnison County on Friday.

The three men were snowboarding when the avalanche happened in upper Rapid Creek, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. One of the men hiked out of the area to get help, and the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office said the call came in just before 6 p.m.

Search and rescue teams evacuated the second man by helicopter Friday. Both men were injured.

After the search resumed Saturday, rescue teams found the third man buried about 4 feet deep in avalanche debris, the center said. He was killed in the avalanche.

The center said the avalanche broke 2 to 3 feet deep and 300 to 500 feet wide. It ran 2,400 vertical feet.

The CAIC said Saturday morning there have been eight reports of people caught in or carried in avalanches, all on east- and southeast-facing slopes across the state in the past week and urged people to check forecasts or avoid east-facing slopes.

The Denver Post

Public sessions scheduled on Cottonwood Pass

Public meetings will take place on Wednesday in Glenwood Springs and on Thursday in Gypsum to present and gather feedback on concept designs aimed at improving safety on county roads over Cottonwood Pass between Gypsum and Colorado Highway 82 in Garfield County.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is supporting the counties with initial concepts for safety improvements to the county roads at 14 specific locations, a news release states. Eagle County identified six locations to evaluate potential improvements, and Garfield County identified eight locations, based on known safety issues.

In Garfield County, the proposed route to Colorado 82 would follow County Road 100 to the Catherine Store intersection east of Carbondale. County commissioners have stated a preference for that route over Cattle Creek or Spring Valley roads.

Cottonwood Pass is a vital connection for local residents who rely on the county road to safely travel between Gypsum and Highway 82. It is often used as an undesignated alternate route when Glenwood Canyon is closed, which has escalated the urgency of addressing safety issues, according to the release.

The sessions are scheduled for Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Glenwood Springs at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, and on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at the Gypsum Town Hall Council Chamber, 50 Lundgren Boulevard.

Gathering public input and estimating the magnitude of construction costs for the early concept designs will help Eagle and Garfield counties determine if and when improvements at each site would move forward.

Storms keep on coming for Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — It hasn’t been often this season where storms trend drier as they approach Lake Tahoe, but that appears to be the case with an incoming system.

The National Weather Service in Reno on Friday issued a winter storm watch for the basin that goes into effect at 5 a.m. on Sunday and lasts through 11 a.m. on Wednesday for heavy snow, especially at higher elevations.

The service is calling for up to a foot of snow, except 12 to 18 inches for the West Shore and 2 to 3 feet above 7,000 feet. Gusty winds could hit 75 mph Monday on Sierra ridges with 30 mph gusts for the basin.

Another storm expected for late next week is also trending weaker ahead of a low pressure system digging south through the Gulf of Alaska.

“That storm is probably the next one to watch going into the final days of March,” the service said and added that latest guidance keeps temperatures below normal and above normal for precipitation.

Deer Valley extends ski season

Deer Valley Resort on Thursday extended its ski season, a rare decision by the resort that was made possible this year by the plentiful and continuing snowfall in the Wasatch Mountains.

Deer Valley had been scheduled to close for the winter on April 16. The resort said it will keep the lifts on Bald Mountain and Bald Eagle Mountain open until April 23, if conditions permit. Bald Eagle Mountain rises from outside Snow Park Lodge and is frequently skied by people who start and end the day at Snow Park. Bald Mountain is one of the peaks accessed at Silver Lake Village.

It is highly unusual for Deer Valley to alter the dates of a ski season. The extra week will be welcomed by the resort’s skiers as well as people who work in the tourism industry since the additional days would be expected to generate at least limited economic activity.