Authorities have identified a woman who died when she was caught in a powerful avalanche while back country skiing in northern Colorado.
Michelle Lindsay, 29, of Fort Collins was buried under snow at Diamond Peak Sunday, The Coloradoan reports.
Other members of Lindsay’s ski party dug her from the snow, but found she was not breathing, The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said.
Lindsay was declared dead at the scene. She died from asphyxiation while trapped under the snow, The Larimer County Coroner’s Office said Tuesday.
Lindsay’s death was the first avalanche fatality reported in the country this snow season, the newspaper reported.
The avalanche happened at the peak just north of Rocky Mountain National Park, 68 miles west of Fort Collins.
A 2- to 3-foot sheet of snow, ice and rock plummeted 500 vertical feet over a wide area, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported.
The center warned of considerable avalanche danger Monday for the Rocky Mountain Front Range, which includes the area where Lindsay died.
Communities along the Rocky Mountains have seen record or near-record snowfall since September. The center urged people skiing in the back country to use extreme caution.
The death comes on the heels of a 2018-2019 snow season in Colorado that killed eight people, two more fatalities above the average for avalanche deaths the state sees every season.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center fielded reports of 46 people caught in avalanches in 2018, 16 of them who were buried. That is the highest number of people caught and buried the agency has ever recorded.