GlobalSkier dies in avalanche outside Colorado resort

Skier dies in avalanche outside Colorado resort

A skier died in an avalanche Sunday outside the limits of a Colorado ski resort, just a day after the body of another avalanche victim was recovered, authorities said.

Three skiers were trapped in the massive avalanche Sunday in the Maroon Bowl area outside the Aspen Highlands resort near Aspen, according to Pitkin County police.

Two of the skiers managed to escape and no further details about the skier who died have been released at this time.

On Saturday, Colorado authorities recovered the body of Joel Shute, a 36-year-old skier from Glenwood Springs, after he and two other people were trapped in a large avalanche southwest of Marble, western Colorado.

Shute had been missing since Friday night when the avalanche plunged 2,400 feet (730 meters) down a mountainside during a drive in the countryside.

The avalanche was as deep as two to three feet (1 meter) when it began and up to 500 feet (150 meters) wide, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. Rescue teams found the victim’s body buried in the snow from the avalanche, the center added.

A skier and a snowboarder who were with Shute survived. The snowboarder went out to get help and rescuers rescued the injured skier by helicopter. Both were taken to the hospital, Gunnison County police said.

Recent storms have increased avalanche risks.

So far this winter, 19 people have been killed in avalanches in the United States, including nine in Colorado. Avalanches during the winter of 2020-2021 killed 37 people nationwide, the most recorded by the avalanche center in records going back to 1950.

Shute’s family members said he was aware of avalanche risks but was a committed skier. His mother, Lisa Gerstner, said his son traveled a lot and used his pilot’s license to take his father and friends on trips for work and recreation.

“Joel lived to ski,” his brother, Aaron Shute, told KDVR-TV. “He was his passion and what he most wanted to do in his life.”

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