Thursday, January 26, 2012
The two avalanche fatalities at Vail and Winter Park ski areas Sunday mark the first inbounds avalanche deaths in Colorado since 2006 and are among only four in the state’s modern skiing history.
Both 13-year-old Taft Conlin and 28-year-old Christopher Norris accessed steep slopes through open runs.
Conlin, joined by two friends, entered Vail’s precipitous Prima Cornice through an open lower gate but hiked up to a closed area behind a higher closed gate. All three skiers were caught in the slide, but Conlin suffered chest injuries due to blunt force trauma, according to a coroner’s initial report.
Norris was skiing the open trees on the right side of Trestle at Mary Jane when he was caught in a 40-foot-wide slide that ran 60 vertical feet.
Conlin’s and Norris’ deaths are the third and fourth in recent memory — at least 25 years — caused by avalanches inside Colorado ski-area boundaries involving resort guests. A 25-year-old professional skier was killed in an avalanche at Snowmass ski area in December 2006 after cutting a closure rope. And a 53-year-old was killed in a warm-weather, “wet slab” slide in May 2005 at Arapahoe Basin while skiing an open run.
Read more of the story at DenverPost.com.