Colorado ski resorts on alert after avalanches kill 3 – Fox News

Experts are warning Colorado’s backcountry skiers and snowboarders to exercise caution following the deaths of three people in two avalanches over the weekend. 

On Sunday, rescuers recovered the bodies of two Durango residents who had been reported missing after taking a ski trip just north of the town of Silverton.

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Albert Perry, 55, and Dr. Jeff Paffendorf, 51, were found southeast of Ophir Pass in an area known as “the Battleship,” according to The Colorado Springs Gazette. The two were not immediately identified by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday, Jeffrey “Schnoid” Schneider was found buried in an avalanche in the Anthracite Range, Crested Butte News reported. His was the first avalanche death of the 2020 snow season.

In this Feb. 21, 2008, file photo, skiers ride up Al's Run lift at the Taos Ski Valley, in Taos County, N.M. Some resorts are closing enclosed gondolas or aerial trams while others are encouraging skiers to ride lifts with only people they know as they adhere to social distancing guidelines. (AP Photo/Albuquerque Journal, File)

In this Feb. 21, 2008, file photo, skiers ride up Al’s Run lift at the Taos Ski Valley, in Taos County, N.M. Some resorts are closing enclosed gondolas or aerial trams while others are encouraging skiers to ride lifts with only people they know as they adhere to social distancing guidelines. (AP Photo/Albuquerque Journal, File)

In total, nine people were caught in avalanches over the weekend. 

Over the past week, there have been just under 400 reported across the state, with 132 since Friday.

According to The Denver Post, human error triggers nine out of 10 avalanches, though the Colorado Avalanche Information Center warns much of the Centennial State’s high country is at “considerable” risk.

Center director Ethan Greene told The Associated Press on Sunday that the state’s snowpack is the weakest it has been since 2012.

“Although the avalanche conditions are not unprecedented, they are worse than many people are used to,” Greene said. “People are using avalanche-safety strategies that have worked in recent years, but current conditions require additional caution.”

In addition, as more Americans head outdoors amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials have been worried about a surge in backcountry skiing.

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Six people were killed in Colorado avalanches during the 2019-2020 snow season, according to The Colorado Sun.

More people die in avalanches in Colorado than in any other state.

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