A Colorado skier died on Christmas Eve after being "fully buried" in an avalanche, officials say. The man was skiing in the backcountry near Cameron Pass in the Rocky Mountains around 2pm when the 250-foot-wide avalanche struck, USA Today reports. "The victim's partner was able to locate him with a transceiver and probe pole and extricate him from the snow, but he did not survive," the Colorado Avalanche Information Center says in a press release. His identity has not been made public, and the reasons for the avalanche are under investigation, CNN reports.
"Our deepest condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragic accident," the statement says. "Be very careful if you're traveling in the mountains over the next few days." The director of the CAIC says the best way to avoid dying in an avalanche is to avoid being caught in one. "Unfortunately, once you get caught, you just don't have that many options. Your chance of survival drops precipitously." Avalanche warnings had been posted for most of the state Thursday as a snowstorm hit the area. The warnings were repeated Friday.
While this is the first avalanche death of the season in Colorado, two other skiers died recently in the state, one after colliding with a snowboarder and the other after colliding with a tree. Last season, a dozen people died in avalanches in the state, the highest number in almost a decade. (Read more Colorado stories.)