CRESTED BUTTE | One person was killed and two others were injured by deep snow cascading off roofs in the southwestern Colorado resort town of Crested Butte.
The incidents occurred Friday and Saturday amid an unprecedented wave of avalanches. One high mountain pass remained closed Monday for avalanche control work, and the risk of slides was rated as “considerable” in most of the state’s mountains.
A mammoth avalanche southwest of Aspen over the weekend damaged an unoccupied house, but no injuries were reported.
In Crested Butte, Stephan Michael Martel, 25, died and Blair Tulliver Burton, 37, was injured Saturday when snow slid off the roof of a commercial building, Mount Crested Butte Police Department spokeswoman Marjorie Trautman said.
They were clearing snow from the roof at the time, Trautman said.
On Friday, Alex Theaker, 28, was injured by snow sliding off the roof of a Crested Butte home, Trautman said. Details of that incident weren’t immediately known.
Crested Butte is 125 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Denver.
U.S. Highway 550 over Red Mountain Pass was closed as crews triggered avalanches and cleared away snow. There was no immediate word on when the highway would open. The pass is about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Durango and stands more than 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) above sea level.
An avalanche estimated to be more than one mile (1.6 kilometers) wide swept down a mountain outside the Aspen Highlands ski resort either Friday or Saturday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
It dropped 3,000 vertical feet (914 meters) and was so powerful that it reached about 200 feet (60 meters) up the opposite side of the valley, the center said.
Authorities said the snow reached the second floor of the unoccupied house, destroying a chimney and shattering windows.
“This is a landscape-changing event,” avalanche center deputy director Brian Lazar told the Aspen Times.