NewsLocal News


Searchers recover bodies of 2 killed in avalanche north of Vail

Posted at 10:54 AM, Feb 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 09:51:28-05

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — Two snowbike riders who were missing after an avalanche in Colorado's high country were found deceased by search and rescue teams Sunday, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

Crews were searching for two snowbikers who may have triggered an avalanche Saturday in a backcountry area north of Vail, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). The avalanche occurred on a northeast-facing slope below treeline and around 9,800 feet. It was about 650 feet wide and ran about 120 vertical feet, CAIC said.

A third snowbiker who was partially buried was able to free himself from the avalanche, which reportedly happened Saturday afternoon about 10 miles north of Vail, near Muddy Pass. the avalanche carried the other two people into a gully in the drainage bottom, according to CAIC. The debris piled high enough to completely cover them.

The Eagle County Coroner’s Office has identified the victims as Dillon Block, 28, and Cesar Almanza-Hernandez, 30, both of Gypsum.

The CAIC worked with the Vail Mountain Rescue Group to recover the bodies Sunday.

Before the weekend, the CAIC had warned about the avalanche risks throughout the Colorado high country. Heavy snow over the last two weeks had made for treacherous conditions in some areas of the backcountry.

The area surrounding Vail was under a "considerable" risk for avalanches this weekend, according to the CAIC.