COLORADO (AP) – The bodies of three backcountry skiers buried in a large avalanche in southwestern Colorado were found Wednesday under more than 20 feet (6 meters) of avalanche debris, officials said.
The bodies of the skiers, located with the help of their avalanche beacons, had to be left at the site between the towns of Silverton and Ophir because bad weather prevented a helicopter from retrieving them from the rugged terrain, the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management said.
The slide happened Monday in an area locally known as The Nose, and the continuing avalanche danger in the area had hampered searchers’ efforts to find the skiers. A fourth skier was found by rescuers and suffered only minor injuries.
Officials in Eagle County and the town of Eagle on Wednesday identified the skiers who died as county employees Seth Bossung and Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer, a co-founder of Bonfire Brewing in Eagle, the Vail Daily reported.
“Our hearts are heavy with the loss of these three men. Their contributions through their work in local government and local businesses, as well as their personal passions and their impact on the friends and family members they leave behind, have helped shape the community in ways that will be forever lasting,” said a statement from Eagle County and the town of Eagle.