Avalanche in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains kills skier near Cameron Pass

A backcountry skier near Cameron Pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains died Christmas Eve after being “fully buried” in an avalanche, officials said.

It was Colorado’s first avalanche death of the season. A total of 12 people died in the state in the 2020-2021 avalanche season, the most in nearly a decade, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).

Investigators said Friday’s avalanche was about 150 feet wide. The incident happened at about 2:00pm on the southeast end of South Diamond Peak.

“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 CAIC said in a news release.

The cause of the avalanche is under investigation. The victim’s identity has not been released.

“Our deepest condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragic accident,” the statement from CAIC read.

“Be very careful if you’re traveling in the mountains over the next few days.”

Cameron Pass is about 65 miles west of Fort Collins in north-central Colorado.

Over the last 10 winters, an average of 27 people died in US avalanches each winter, according to the CAIC. Globally, about 150 people are killed annually.