Five snowboarders died in a backcountry avalanche on Colorado's Loveland Pass Saturday afternoon. Search and rescue teams located five bodies, and it appears that a sixth snowboarder survived the accident. The rider's condition remains unknown.
"I believe that at this point in time everyone is accounted for, but I'm not sure," says Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger. The snowboarders likely triggered the slide which was about 8 feet deep and 600 yards wide.
Saturday's deaths bring the total number of Colorado avalanche fatalities up to 11 this year, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Nationwide, more than 18 people have died in slides this season. At nearby Vail Pass, a 38-year-old snowboarder was killed Thursday by an avalanche.
At 11,990 feet, Loveland Pass is popular among backcountry skiers and snowboarders.
Colorado's snowpack has been plagued by weak layers since early January, according to Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Spencer Logan.
“Our last series of storms made them more active again,” he said. “Over the last week and a half, that area got over 18 inches of snow, so if you melted that that would be 2 inches of water, so that is a heavy load.”