Lake County avalanche victims were friends from Wisconsin

LAKE COUNTY, Colo. - Two skiers killed in an avalanche near Leadville over the weekend have been identified as friends from Wisconsin, according top the Portage Daily Register.

Seven skiers were near the top of the ridge near Twin Lakes when the avalanche was triggered Saturday afternoon, according to the Lake County Office of Emergency Management.

Three people were taken to the hospital in Leadville with injuries that included a broken leg, a broken ankle, a possible broken rib and a collapsed lung. Two people walked to safety unharmed. Two people were trapped and died.

"It ran almost full path, across the creek. It didn't quite hit the highway but it was enough to break some trees," said Brian Lazar, Deputy Director of Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Robert Lentz told the newspaper his son, Justin Lentz of Portage, was one of those killed in the avalanche. The 32-year-old Lentz loved to ski and started when he was 5 or 6 years old, his father said.

Lentz said his son "was a good kid" who worked as an electrician and was engaged to be married.

The newspaper said the second victim was Jarrard Law, 34.

Lentz and Law were close buddies who frequently went skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking together, said Joey Kindred, 28, who knew them both well.

Kindred recalled how Lentz enjoyed competing with his friends with over-the-top snowboard tricks, even though he had a bad shoulder that popped out of its socket whenever he crashed.

"He'd fall down so often we'd call him Man Down," Kindred said. "He'd laugh, get up and do it again. And when his shoulder popped out he'd call over to his fiancee — she's a nurse — and she'd pop it back in."

Law was always the life of a party, but he was happiest when he was in the outdoors or spending time with friends, Kindred said.

Kindred had gone skiing and snowboarding with Lentz and Law in the past. He said the two had only skied at resorts in Colorado so they wouldn't have been familiar with the back country trails.

"I just wish I could have been with them to stop them from going down those lanes," said Kindred, who used to live in Colorado.

Avalanches have killed 14 people across the nation this season, eight in the western United States, since Feb. 8.
 
Recent storms have dumped fresh, heavy snow on top of weak layers. Combine that factor with recent winds and experts say giant slabs of snow are just waiting to give away.