Two men killed in avalanche near Vallecito


By Ted Holteen | La Plata County

La Plata County Search & Rescue crews Saturday night responded to a report of two missing backcountry skiers south of Vallecito Reservoir. Both men were found deceased at 3:36 a.m. on Sunday. The names of the deceased are being withheld at this time pending notification of the victims’ families.

The men left for skiing at 7 a.m. Saturday and intended to return by noon. Search and Rescue received the missing persons call at 9:18 p.m. and deputies with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office located the victims’ truck on the road at the southern end of the lake. Using cell phone records to identify where the men were likely skiing, ground crews as well as a Flight for Life helicopter initiated the search. The helicopter crew, using RECCO Detector and avalanche beacon technology, identified ski tracks at 11:42 p.m. and ground crews began a search of the identified area. Crews discovered a single ski at 3:06 a.m. Sunday and both men were found buried in several feet of snow at 3:36 a.m.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center currently rates avalanche danger in the region as “Moderate” and more information including forecasts and safety tips can be found at

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