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Avalanche kills backcountry skier near Steamboat Springs

Skier identified as 49-year-old Steamboat man
Steamboat Springs Buffalo Pass avalanche_March 20 2022
Posted at 10:58 AM, Mar 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-20 15:21:47-04

ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. (AP) — Colorado authorities say a backcountry skier has been killed in an avalanche in the Buffalo Pass area northeast of Steamboat Springs.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) says a second skier was able to reach his companion, who had been swept up against a tree and wasn’t breathing.

The Routt County Sheriff’s Office said man was able to call 911. The man performed CPR for an hour until help arrived. He was airlifted by helicopter.

On Sunday, the sheriff's office confirmed the man's identity as 49-year-old Andrew Hyde of Steamboat Springs.

Saturday's avalanche death was the 15th this season, including five in Colorado.

Brian Lazar, deputy director of CAIC, told Denver7 that dangerous avalanche conditions persist as earlier snowfall sits precariously over a weaker layer of snow.

"What's going on is during our mid-winter drought we developed a very pronounced, weak layer of snow. So that was what was happening in January," Lazar said. "And then as we started to get new snowfall that landed on top of that very weak layer, conditions were getting more dangerous. Now what's happened is we've got enough snow on top of that drought layer that we've got a thick, cohesive slab of snow, which is now connecting across terrain features."

Check the avalanche forecast before leaving the house by visiting the CAIC website. You can also see CAIC's Avalanche Explorer on this page.