GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — Authorities, including search and rescue and the Winter Park Ski Patrol Dog Team, responded to an avalanche at Berthoud Pass after receiving a report that two people may have been buried.
At 1:30 p.m., the Grand County Sheriff's Office said after checking the area from the ground and air, officials determined nobody was caught in the slide.
According to the sheriff's office, the slide happened in the Current Creek area near the Postage Stamp feature and had "possible burials." They received a report of the avalanche just after 11 a.m.
In addition to that department and ski patrol dog team, about 20 Grand County Search & Rescue (GCSAR) team members, EMS, and Flight for Life also responded to the area.
The person who called 911 reported seeing two people in the Postage Stamp area and then later noticed the fresh avalanche in the same area, according to GCSAR. The man called 911 to report possible burials.
Once the rescue groups arrived to the avalanche debris area, they saw tracks entering the slide area that continued onto the other side, indicating the slide had happened after the person or people had passed through. An avalanche transceiver search and avalanche dog confirmed that nobody had been caught.
Everybody was out of the field by 2:30 p.m., according to GCSAR.
The search and rescue team asks anybody who triggers an avalanche in the backcountry to report it to 911 so there are no false alarms like this one.
Earlier in the day, an avalanche closed down Loveland Pass. As of now, there have been no reports of injuries in that slide.
In 2013, two people were caught in an avalanche in the same area of the Postage Stamp at Berthoud Pass. One of the two skiers was partially buried. Both were able to ski out to Highway 40 and get back to their car without injury.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the risk of avalanches Wednesday was listed as "moderate," but humans can trigger large avalanches on northerly to easterly slopes where weak layers are buried under several feet. These types of avalanches can be triggered from below and may break wider and run farther than expected. CAIC warns you not to use tracks on a slope to assume it is safe.
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