This past Saturday (20th April 2013), four snowboarders and one skier were killed in the deadliest avalanche that Colorado has seen in 50 years. The five men had been taking part in an event celebrating backcountry snowboarding and were raising money for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
According to the original article by the Denver Post, the five men who lost their lives were:
* Chris Peters, 32, from Lakewood.
* Joe Timlin, a 32-year-old sales representative with Jones Snowboards from Gypsum and an organizer of the backcountry gathering.
* Ryan Novack, 33, of Boulder.
* Ian Lamphere, a 36-year-old skier from Crested Butte with an infant and fiancé. Lamphere founded the company Gecko Skins, which makes innovative climbing skins.
* Rick Gaukel, a 33-year-old American Mountain Guides Association-certified climbing guide with extensive avalanche education from Estes Park.
Jerome Boulay, the sole survivor of the slide, had been buried for an hour before being dug out by a Dillon resident Mike Bennett.
It’s always incredibly tragic to hear stories of people losing their lives in avalanches and while on the whole, we try not to take snowboarding too seriously, news like this is a stark reminder that avalanche safety and awareness is not something to be taken lightly. All five of these guys were experts, trained to be avalanche aware and equipped with sufficient backcountry gear.
Know the dangers, know your equipment and don’t take unnecessary risks. It’s just not worth it.
Our thoughts go out to all of the victims’ families and friends.