From the 13th the Berthoud Pass Ski Area had received 28 inches of snow including 6 inches on the morning April 19. Strong NW winds on the 12th and again on the 15 caused some blowing snow. Late Saturday afternoon, the day before the accident, winds started to increase from the NW. For the 20 hours before the accident winds averaged NW/20s with gusts into the 30s. At the time of the accident WNW winds at 20 gusts to 35. The temperature had warmed to 21 degrees. (11,880 feet).
The couple were caught in a very shallow but broad soft slab avalanche that released the entire face nearly 800 feet across. The avalanche was only 8-12 inches deep, but the cohesive slab pulled back and released on portions of the flatter ridge top. The steep east-southeast face of Russell Peak is 40 degrees in steepness with numerous rock outcrops and cliffs. The avalanche was not triggered by their yells, but rather from one or both of them moving around in the avalanche starting zone. It is possible that the first avalanche triggered the second avalanche, though it did take a minute or two. It is more likely the second avalanche was triggered by the woman moving around at the edge or just over the edge of the steep slope.
Rescuers from Alpine Rescue Team, Berthoud Pass Ski Patrol, and Loveland Ski Patrol participated in the rescue. Flight for Life flew the victim to St. Anthony's hospital where she died from her injuries 3 days later.