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Aspen-area men killed in avalanche near Crested Butte, bringing Colorado’s 2018-2019 avalanche death toll to 4

Owen Green and Michael Goerne were killed in Saturday's slide. Friends say they had been training for the Grand Traverse next month.

A photos of the avalanche near Crested Butte that killed two men over President’s Day Weekend 2019. (Provided by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

Colorado authorities say two men died in an avalanche near Crested Butte this weekend, bringing the state’s avalanche fatality tally this season to four.

The Mt. Crested Butte Police Department tells the Aspen Times that 27-year-old Owen Green, of Aspen, and 37-year-old Michael Goerne, of Carbondale, were reported missing Saturday night. A police statement says tracks were discovered leading into a fresh avalanche field, but no tracks were found exiting the slide area.

Police say the conditions were too dangerous to conduct a recovery operation that night.

On Sunday, a team of six Crested Butte Search and Rescue members found the men’s bodies.

Friends say Green and Goerne had been training for the Grand Traverse, a 40-mile backcountry ski race across the Elk Mountains. The two men were partners in the race from Crested Butte to Aspen next month.

MORE: A declining number of avalanche deaths in Colorado, the West in the past four seasons buoys hope

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is warning backcountry travelers of dangerous conditions throughout the state after recent snowfall.

“You can trigger avalanches that break in the new and wind drifted snow that will be large enough to bury or kill you,” the center said in a bulletin. “You may even be able to trigger very large very dangerous avalanches that break deeper in the snowpack. If you trigger one of these deeper avalanches it will most likely be inescapable.”

Two men were also killed in avalanches last month in Colorado.

Arin Trook, 48, was backcountry skiing when he was killed in a slide south of Aspen on Jan. 21. Trook worked as the education director at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

Peter Marshall, a 40-year-old from Loveland, was killed on Jan. 5 in an avalanche near Red Mountain Pass. He was participating in an avalanche safety course at the time of his death.

MORE: “Their mindset was risk averse”: Arin Trook was on trip with wife, young child when slide killed him

An inbounds avalanche at New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley last month also killed two men living in Colorado.

Colorado Sun staff writer Jesse Paul contributed to this report.

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