2 skiers killed in large avalanches in late winter in Colorado

MARBLE, Col. (AP) — A skier was killed by an avalanche Sunday outside the boundary of a Colorado ski resort, just a day after authorities recovered the body of another avalanche victim, authorities said.

Three skiers were caught in Sunday’s large avalanche in the Maroon Bowl area outside the Aspen Highlands resort near Aspen, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said.

Two of the skiers managed to escape. Further details about the victim were not immediately available.

On Saturday, Colorado authorities recovered the body of skier Joel Shute, 36, of Glenwood Springs, after he and two others were caught in a large avalanche inland southwest of Marble, western Colorado.

Shute had been missing since Friday night, when the avalanche swept 2,400 feet (730 meters) down the side of a mountain as they toured inland.

The avalanche was two to three feet deep (up to nearly 3 feet) where it started and up to 500 feet (150 meters) wide, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. Rescue teams found the victim’s body buried in debris from the avalanche, the center said.

A skier and snowboarder who were with Shute survived. The snowboarder came out for help and rescue teams evacuated the injured skier by helicopter. Both were taken to the hospital, the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office said.

Recent storms have increased the risk of avalanches.

Nineteen people have been killed in the United States by avalanches so far this winter, including nine fatalities in Colorado. Avalanches in the winter of 2020-2021 killed 37 people nationwide, the highest number recorded by the avalanche center in records dating back to 1950.

Shute’s family members said he was aware of the avalanche danger but was dedicated to skiing. The victim’s mother, Lisa Gerstner, said she spent a lot of time traveling and used her pilot’s license to fly her father and her friends on business and leisure trips.

“Skiing was Joel’s life,” brother Aaron Shute told KDVR-TV. “It was his passion and what he wanted to do with his life,

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