Colorado Avalanche Snowboarding Victims Were Participants In Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash

04/22/2013 07:06 am ET | Updated Jun 22, 2013
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The five men who were killed in a backcountry Colorado avalanche on Saturday were identified as participants in an event called the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash.

The men were identified on Sunday as expert backcountry skiers who were raising money the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and testing new gear.

Authorities were notified about an hour after the avalanche occurred around 2 p.m.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger identified the victims as Christopher Peters, 32, of Lakewood; Joseph Timlin, 32, of Gypsum; Ryan Novack, 33, of Boulder; Ian Lanphere, 36, of Crested Butte; and Rick Gaukel, 33, of Estes Park. Another snowboarder, identified by friends as Jerome Boulay, was buried and survived, but authorities have yet to release information about his condition.

"It's just a dangerous time of year and an accident went the wrong way," a friend of Timlin's told 9News.

Krueger said search and rescue crews recovered the men's bodies from an area on Loveland Pass several hours after the avalanche. According to the Colorado Avalanche Information report, the crown face of the slide was estimated to be about 500 feet wide and four feet deep. All of the men were equipped with avalanche beacons.

"They were wrapped around each other, below a patch of trees," said snowboarder Mike Bennett, who helped free Boulay.

Krueger said the avalanche area was hard to spot from the road.

"If (Boulay) hadn't gotten out, they may still be buried up there and we wouldn't even know it," Krueger said.

According to a report by The Denver Post, this was Colorado's deadliest avalanche in 50 years. Seven people were killed in a avalanche in 1962 on the eastern side of Independence Pass.

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