Man rescued after buried under snow for 9 minutes in Colorado avalanche

A snowboarder is in good condition after being rescued from an avalanche Sunday.

December 16, 2019, 3:15 PM

A snowboarder was rescued after being trapped under the snow 9 minutes after an avalanche occurred inbound at the Steamboat ski resort in Steamboat, Colorado.

Ski patrol received a call at 12:58 p.m. Sunday from people who witnessed the avalanche, according to Loryn Duke, Steamboat Ski and Resort director of communications. Within three minutes, ski patrol was at the scene, and by 1:07 p.m., the snowboarder was extricated.

The snowboarder, who is in his early 20s, was breathing and conscious when he was extricated. He was transported to a local hospital and is in good condition.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s website, avalanche forecast for the Steamboat area that weekend was high and warned of “very dangerous avalanche conditions.” And that, "travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.”

PHOTO: Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA
Steamboat Springs, Colo.
David Epperson/Getty Images

The avalanche occurred in an area that was closed and roped off at the time of the incident.

“The expert terrain off of chute 1 and 2 were closed at the ski resort this weekend, but skiers and snowboarders accessed it via a traverse, and they were in closed terrain when the slide occurred,” Duke said. She urges outdoor enthusiasts to respect trail closures and, although inconvenient, understand that resorts are working to make the slopes as safe as possible.

Trails are usually indicated as closed or open via signage and Duke said that you can always check a resort's website and, when in doubt, speak to staff like the ski patrollers and the lift operators.

Duke also said that when a skier or snowboarder goes into an area that is not open, they are not only putting themselves at risk, but they’re also putting anyone else skiing or snowboarding at-risk. She also advised that before coming out to enjoy the slopes, people should lookup conditions for the area and always ski with a partner.

On Sunday in neighboring Utah, a fellow snowboarder was not as fortunate. A 45-year-old male snowboarder “triggered and was caught, carried and killed in an avalanche," according to the Utah Avalanche Center.

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