On Saturday, January 5, a skier taking a Level 2 avalanche course in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains died after getting caught in an avalanche. Peter Marshall, a 40-year-old skier from Longmont, Colorado, was one of six skiers in the class who triggered the slide on Upper Senator Breck Basin, located northwest of Red Mountain Pass. According to the incident report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Marshall was buried in more than 8 feet of snow. He was found by the group, but was unable to be revived.

The Colorado Sun reported that on January 3, two days prior to the accident, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center had “noted particularly dangerous conditions in that region's mountains, with new snow falling on a faceted snowpack that had weakened during a sustained dry spell.”

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The red lines indicate the crown face of the two slides.
PHOTO: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

"This tragic accident impacts all of us and our deepest condolences go out to the family. Our number one priority at this time is ensuring the safety and well being of the family of the victim and the students and staff involved in the accident," stated the Silverton Avalanche School in a press release on Monday, January 6.

Marshall had been a student with the Silverton Avalanche School. This is the organization’s first fatality since its inception in 1962, and is also the first avalanche fatality of the season in Colorado. It also marks the first avalanche-related death of a skier in the United States for the season.