Steamboat Springs A Craig man killed in an avalanche Sunday became the eighth fatality this season in Colorado and the fourth in a span of four days.
Daniel James Ovenden, 31, died after he was covered in four feet of snow by an avalanche near Pagoda Peak in a remote section of Rio Blanco County Sunday afternoon.
Ovenden was snowmobiling in the area, which is 35 miles east of Meeker, with nine others when the avalanche occurred, said Rio Blanco Undersheriff Anthony Mazzola.
"There were three snowmobilers on the hill at the time it was triggered," Mazzola said.
Ovenden was buried, and a second person was partially buried but was dug out by another snowmobiler, he said.
The avalanche was about 300 yards wide and a half-mile long. Routt County Search and Rescue was notified of the avalanche at about 2 p.m.
The Rio Blanco Sheriff's Office was notified of the avalanche at about 2:30 p.m.
Fifteen Routt County Search and Rescue members, along with seven members from Rio Blanco Search and Rescue, went to the scene, Mazzola said.
Using probes, search and rescue officials found Ovenden's body at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Ovenden was not wearing an avalanche beacon, Mazzola said.
Mazzola said the Rio Blanco Coroner's Office is conducting an autopsy.
Ovenden's death happened two days after a 31-year-old San Diego, Calif., woman died in an avalanche near the Telluride Ski Area.
The woman was snowboarding when the avalanche occurred. Her body has not yet been recovered and a search has been suspended until the weather improves.
Two people were killed near Aspen on Thursday. A 39-year-old Chicago woman was killed in an avalanche while she was skiing the backside of Aspen Mountain.
A 63-year-old Fort Collins man was killed in Ashcroft near Landley Hut, which is 14 miles southwest of Aspen. The man was skiing with nine others.
Officials at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the recent fatalities are the result of an unstable and avalanche-prone snowpack.
According to the information center, the avalanche danger in Colorado for January and February was on the low side. However, in the past 10 days most areas of the state received significant snow and created widespread slab conditions.
Because of many months of light snowfall, the snowpack is unable to support much weight.
The center warns all that is needed for an avalanche is a steep slope and a trigger. The center warns anyone heading into the backcountry to use extra caution.
His wife, Stacy, his 3-year-old daughter, Taylor, and his parents, Denny and Joleen, survive Ovenden. He worked with his father at the family's Craig business, The Print Shop.
Mazzola said the area where Ovenden died was ripe for an avalanche.
"If people are going to go into the backcountry, they need to be prepared," he said.