Local man dies in backcountry avalanche

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenApril 4, 2011
A bluebird spring powder day turned tragic when a local man died in a backcountry avalanche Monday afternoon.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office reports that Adam Dennis was in a group of five skiing Desolation, just south of Maroon Bowl — beyond the boundaries of the Aspen Highlands ski area — when the avalanche occurred.
Adam Dennis


"It is known that at least one individual was caught in the slide, was located by others in the group, and that CDP [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] was initiated. The resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful," a press release said.

The sheriff's office said it received the avalanche report at 2:45 p.m.

Dennis, 38, was a popular longtime local who worked at the Viceroy Snowmass.

Deputies and members of Mountain Rescue Aspen are assessing the stability of the snow in the area where the slide occurred to determine the safest way to recover his body. The recovery is planned for Tuesday.

More than a foot of fresh snow fell in the area Sunday into Monday, adding to the already precarious backcountry conditions. Three other skiers reportedly triggered a large avalanche on Saturday on Independence Pass, another popular backcountry area above Aspen. The trio of skiers were reportedly "lucky to be alive."

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center rated the danger in the Aspen area on Monday as considerable above treeline and moderate below it. Authorities reported that the Desolation slide occurred below treeline.

Monday's tragedy is the sixth avalanche death in Colorado this 2010/2011 season.

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