CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2013/04/18 - Colorado - Ptarmigan Hill, near Vail Pass

Published 2013/04/20 by Ethan Greene - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: Ptarmigan Hill, near Vail Pass
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2013/04/18
  • Time: 12:00 AM
  • Summary Description: 1 snowboarder caught and killed
  • Primary Activity: Hybrid Rider
  • Primary Travel Mode: Snowboard


  • Caught: 1
  • Fully Buried: 0
  • Injured: 0
  • Killed: 1


  • Type: HS
  • Trigger: AR - Snowboarder
  • Trigger (subcode): u - An unintentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: --
  • Size - Destructive Force: --
  • Sliding Surface: O - Within Old Snow


  • Slope Aspect: N
  • Site Elevation: 12000 ft
  • Slope Angle: --
  • Slope Characteristic: --

Accident Summary


A group of three snowboarders using snowmobiles to access the backcountry from Vail Pass were involved in a large avalanche. Two riders were caught. One was washed into a stand of trees, and was killed. He likely died from his injuries. The other rode out or most of the way out of the debris. Other touring groups in the area helped with the first response. US Forest Service, Eagle and Summit County Sheriff's offices, Vail Mountain Rescue Group, and Summit County Rescue Group responded to the accident. CAIC staff will visit the site on April 19th. We will report more information as it becomes available.

The deep, persistent-slab avalanche is described at 10' deep and close to 300' wide. It broke trees 3-5" in diameter. It released on a north aspect in a near-treeline area.