On Sunday, rescuers recovered the bodies of two Durango residents who had been reported missing after taking a ski trip just north of the town of Silverton.
Albert Perry, 55, and Dr. Jeff Paffendorf, 51, were found southeast of Ophir Pass in an area known as “the Battleship,” according to The Colorado Springs Gazette. The two were not immediately identified by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.
On Friday, Jeffrey “Schnoid” Schneider was found buried in an avalanche in the Anthracite Range, Crested Butte News reported. His was the first avalanche death of the 2020 snow season.
In total, nine people were caught in avalanches over the weekend.
Over the past week, there have been just under 400 reported across the state, with 132 since Friday.
According to The Denver Post, human error triggers nine out of 10 avalanches, though the Colorado Avalanche Information Center warns much of the Centennial State’s high country is at “considerable” risk.
Center director Ethan Greene told The Associated Press on Sunday that the state’s snowpack is the weakest it has been since 2012.
“Although the avalanche conditions are not unprecedented, they are worse than many people are used to,” Greene said. “People are using avalanche-safety strategies that have worked in recent years, but current conditions require additional caution.”
In addition, as more Americans head outdoors amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials have been worried about a surge in backcountry skiing.
More people die in avalanches in Colorado than in any other state.