by Dalton Carver
About a week and a half after a Silverton Avalanche School student was caught and killed in an avalanche at Senator Beck Basin, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center has released a final report on the incident.
CAIC typically prefers to release reports as soon as possible, but this one took a bit longer. For the investigation, CAIC made several visits to the accident site and interviewed multiple individuals in the safety course group and SAS staff. CAIC also included input from search and rescue volunteers, local professionals, Caltopo, the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies, the NASA Airborne Snow Observatory and imagery from SnowEx.
“This one took a while because of all the people involved and we like to talk to everybody,” said Brian Lazar, representing CAIC.
The accident, which occurred northwest of Red Mountain Pass in Ouray County, involved two avalanches. The first was triggered by the SAS students and has been recorded by CAIC as having enough force to bury, injure or kill a person.
The first avalanche remotely triggered the second, which was marked just as dangerous.
The avalanches caught all six skiers involved and killed one – 40-year-old Longmont resident Peter Marshall. He was caught by the first avalanche, which carried him to the bottom of the slope where the second avalanche overran the debris of the first.
In the aftermath of the slides, the remainder of the group attempted to reach Marshall, who was buried face down. They managed to extract him from the avalanche about 50 minutes after it was triggered. On-scene revival efforts were unsuccessful.
Marshall’s body was recovered Jan. 8 with the help of...