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An avalanche near Marble that killed a Glenwood Springs man. (Colorado Avalanche Information Center photo)

A 36-year-old Glenwood Springs man died Friday in an avalanche southwest of Marble.

The Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office said Joel Shute was backcountry skiing with two other men when they all were caught in a large avalanche Friday evening in upper Rapid Creek near Chair Mountain. Shute’s body was recovered around 1 p.m. Saturday, according to the Sheriff’s Office. 

One of Shute’s companions was able to hike out to call for help. The other was rescued by helicopter, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported.

The avalanche was 2 to 3 feet deep, 300 to 500 feet wide and ran 2,400 vertical feet. CAIC reported Shute was buried about 4 feet deep in the debris.

CAIC members and West Elk Search and Rescue were flown via helicopter into an area of rugged terrain where the avalanche occurred, the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post Saturday. 

“They started their search while other search teams were en route to the area. The body was located around 11:30 a.m. and recovery was made via helicopter,” the update said. 

The group was caught in the avalanche just before 6 p.m. Friday, the sheriff’s office said. The two men who survived were taken to the hospital — one by helicopter and the other ambulance.

CAIC officials posted on Twitter that people are having close calls with large avalanches due to recent storms.

“Eight reports of people caught or carried in avalanches this week, all on east and southeast-facing slopes,” the group tweeted. “Check the forecast and consider avoiding steep easterly slopes altogether.”

This marks the eighth person to die in an avalanche this winter in Colorado, including three men in two slides on Feb. 25 in southern Colorado. Last winter, seven people were killed in Colorado avalanches.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Colorado Sun —

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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul