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Man found dead after avalanche in Colorado mountains

Associated Press

Silver Plume, Colo. — A man was found dead after an avalanche in a popular area for backcountry skiing in Colorado on Sunday.

The man had been skiing alone before the avalanche in the Mount Trelease area, 57 miles (92 kilometers) west of Denver near Interstate 70, when the avalanche happened, the Clear Creek Sheriff's Office said. Members of the Alpine Rescue Team found the man's body in the avalanche debris field about two hours later, the office said.

His name will not be released until his relatives are notified.

The man is the ninth person to be killed by an avalanche in Colorado this winter and the 23rd in the United States, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The average number of people killed in Colorado avalanches each season is six.

In Colorado, the snowpack is exceptionally weak this year with the avalanche danger as bad as it has been since 2012, prompting a renewed warning from the center for backcountry users to be careful during the long Presidents Day weekend.

On Saturday, a snowboarder survived after being caught in an avalanche near East Vail even though his head was buried under about a foot-and-a-half (0.5 meters) of snow, according to the center. The snowboarder was able to make an air pocket in front of his face and breathe in oxygen with a filtration device called an AvaLung, which also keeps carbon dioxide from accumulating near the face, the center said. His partner was able to find and recover him within about 10 minutes using the signal from a transceiver, the center said.