A fun day on the Colorado slopes for a pair of snowmobilers took a frightening turn earlier this month when one of them triggered an avalanche that partially buried the other. CNN reports on the Feb. 11 incident in Birdseye Gulch, near Leadville, captured in a video shared over the weekend by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center on Facebook. The first snowmobiler can be seen heading up the mountain, the second one not too far behind, when in a matter of seconds the first hits a patch of snow and sends a wall of it tumbling down the mountain toward the other snowmobiler, who can be seen being swept back down the slopes in the quickly moving frozen mass. The CAIC notes there had been skiers in that area just minutes before the avalanche, though they weren't believed to have played a part in setting it off.
"It's really quite terrifying," the group's director, Ethan Greene, tells KDVR. "Fortunately, the fellow that was caught in the avalanche ends up with his head above the snow." He notes that avalanches are caused when heavy snow lies on top of weaker layers "lurking below the surface and ... only rearing their heads in specific times and places." Greene adds that those heading out for winter recreation should check avalanche alerts in whatever area they're in, and venture one at a time in areas prone to avalanches. "You want to have as many people available for a rescue as possible if you need one," he says. Two snowmobilers were killed Feb. 15 in an avalanche they triggered in the Muddy Pass area north of Vail, Colo. (Read more avalanche stories.)