Snowboarder killed in Avalanche near Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

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March 12, 2010

Info supplied by CAIC

Daniel Michelotti, 20, of Spring Grove, Ill., died Wednesday in an avalanche about a mile west of Arapahoe Basin ski area, according to a news release from the Summit County coroner's office. Michelotti worked for Breckenridge Ski Resort and had lived in Colorado since November.

Events Leading to the Avalanche
Party consisted of 3 snowboarders, all male in their 20s. None carried avalanche gear.
Accident Summary
There is a convex knob in the middle of the starting zone for Steep Gully #1. The first rider triggered the avalanche as he rode over the knob. The avalanche broke to the ground along the convexity. The snowpack was very shallow, and rescuers estimated the average crown depth about 12 inches, and around 24 inches at the deepest. The avalanche was the full width of the gully, but left large areas of hangfire.
Rescue Summary
The rider was caught and carried for most of the avalanche's run. He was stopped by trees in the upper portion of the runout, and partially buried. His partners descended the path and used their snowboards to excavate him before organized rescue arrived. The avalanche broke trees approximately 6 inches in diameter.
Comments
The Steep Gullies are numbered from east to west. The morning of the accident, there was a remotely triggered avalanche in Gully #4 (2' deep, 30' wide, ran about 800 vertical feet). Monday, two days prior to the accident, there was a skier triggered avalanche in Gully #2. The most recent fatality in the area occurred on January 25, 2000.

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