A 21-year-old man from Fort Collins was able to survive an avalanche that killed his older brother on Saturday.
The brothers, Jordan and Tyler Lundstedt, had been snowmobiling on Buffalo Pass, a route between Steamboat Springs and Walden that is closed to all vehicles except snowmobiles in the spring and winter months. After getting stuck in the Chedsey Creek area, the two had begun to walk back at night when the avalanche hit them just below the tree line.
"The brother that survived was above the brother that was below. The brother that survived was half-buried and he dug himself out. They both were wearing avalanche beacons, so the brother knew where his other brother was and found him and dug him out as soon as possible," Jackson County Sheriff Scott Fischer told CBS4.
Jordan Lundstedt was able to keep himself alive for two nights by creating a snow cave for himself and covering himself with a survival blanket. Jordan's brother Tyler however had been buried beneath two to three feet of snow and wasn't alive when Jordan dug him out.
On Sunday Jordan texted friends for help, and they called 911. Search and rescue teams were finally able to locate Jordan and his brother's body Monday afternoon after having to call off their efforts briefly because of the avalanche danger Sunday night.
The U.S. Forest Service issued a "strong warning" about avalanche dangers in Colorado's high country due to weak snowpack and strong winds.
Avalanches have killed four people in Colorado since Wednesday, and all but one of the deaths occurred in out-of-bounds areas on ski terrain.
"Current conditions have provided the perfect squall for avalanches throughout the Rockies. The shallow snowpack forms weak snow layers and when a snowstorm or wind deposits a new load on top of this weak snowpack, things move and avalanches occur," Supervisory Research Hydrologist at the Rocky Mountain Research Station Kelly Elder told KRDO.
Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center Ethan Greene said that though ski resorts do "an amazing job of reducing the risk of avalanches and they are the safest place to ski," they cannot eliminate the risk of avalanches.
Image of Tyler and Jordan from Tyler's Facebook Page:
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