Men killed in Colorado avalanche were trying to leave area

February 26, 2020 GMT

VAIL, Colo. (AP) — An avalanche in Colorado took the lives of two people who had turned back to avoid a dangerous area, a report said.

The Feb. 15 avalanche north of Vail killed Dillon Block and Cesar Almanza Hernandez, The Vail Daily reported Tuesday.

Block, Hernandez and a companion who was not identified were riding in the back country on low-angle slopes and in meadows and were avoiding steeper slopes, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center report said.

They were operating snowbikes, which are off-road motorcycles modified for use in the snow.

After riding into a creek bottom in the afternoon, the riders entered an open area and turned around to head back.

An avalanche started and the third rider was able to ride into nearby trees, but Hernandez and Block were buried in the slide, the report said.

Volunteers worked to free Block and Hernandez until responders with Vail Mountain Rescue Group arrived at the scene around 9 p.m.

“Given the time elapsed, darkness, increasing snowfall, and no easy way to evaluate the avalanche danger above the site, the group left and returned to the Red Sandstone trailhead,” the report said.

A Vail Mountain Rescue Group team returned the next morning to recover the bodies.