THE death of a snowmobiler near La Manga Pass has state officials reminding outdoor adventurers of the dangers of avalanches during a period when the mountain ranges are seeing deep accumulation of snow.
The snowmobiler, Kevin Gray, was buried and killed in an avalanche at the Red Lakes Trailhead on Saturday, Feb. 25, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Here’s the incident report.
It was the seventh avalanche death in Colorado for the 2022-23 season and third fatality since Feb. 25, according to state avalanche officials.
“The snowmobiler was riding with a group of 4 others when he was caught and buried in an avalanche near the Red Lakes trailhead. The group reported the accident and staff from the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office, USFS, and Conejos County Search and Rescue searched the avalanche debris that evening,” according to the report.
Gray was an avid snowmobiler. His body was recovered around midday following the rescue effort by multiple San Luis Valley rescue teams.
“The Conejos County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support that has been received since Saturday. The time and resources that the community donated made a tremendous difference during the long days of the search. From the food and drinks donated to those searching, the equipment provided to help with the search, and all of the time donated, this would not have been possible without the generosity of the community.
SNOTEL station readings show snowpack across the state
“Special thanks go out to the Search & Rescue Teams out of Alamosa County, Mineral County, Rio Grande County, the Colorado State Search and Rescue Team, Forest Service, Wolf Creek Dog Teams, Classic Air, Emergency Management Services, and to all of the community members who dedicated their time to help with the search and rescue mission.”
The area around Cumbres and La Manga has an 82-inch snow base, with peak snowpack at 202 inches, according to the SNOTEL station in the area. Another 24 inches of snow could fall during the course of this week.