The Sheriff's Office in Lake County, Colorado confirmed the two
fatalities in the avalanche that occurred late Saturday afternoon
near Twin Lakes, the Lake County Office of Emergency Management said
The avalanche occurred at an elevation of about 11,000 feet near
Independence Pass, roughly 120 miles southwest of Denver.
The two skiers were found at the top of the avalanche, said Susan
Matthews, spokeswoman for the Lake County Office of Emergency
"The skiers were equipped with avalanche beacons which assisted
search and rescue crews in locating them," she said.
She said authorities believe the seven skiers triggered the slide.
Two members of the group were buried but were uninjured and able to
get out, while three others were injured, she said earlier on
One of the injured skiers suffered broken ribs and a lacerated
kidney, another had a broken ankle and the third was treated and
released, she said.
The avalanche occurred in an area with treacherous and steep
conditions, Matthews said.
Heavy snowfall combined with strong winds have created a historic
avalanche cycle in the Colorado high country, the Colorado Avalanche
Information Center said in an advisory.
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Six people died in avalanches in the western United States earlier
this month, according to the avalanche center. Two people were
killed in two slides in Utah; a snowmobiler and a skier were killed
in slides in Colorado last week; and two cross-country skiers died
in an avalanche in eastern Oregon.
Including the skiers killed on Saturday, 14 people have been killed
by avalanches in the United States this winter.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Amanda Kwan, Nick Zieminski and
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