Loveland Pass Avalanche: 5 industry friends among the fallen

Comments by Susie Floros/

Scott Toepfer, a member of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, takes depth measurements every 50 feet at the crown of the avalanche near Loveland Pass on Sunday. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post) Scott Toepfer, a member of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, takes depth measurements every 50 feet at the crown of the avalanche near Loveland Pass on Sunday. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Colorado snow industry friends in the tragic avalanche that occurred Saturday, killing 5 experienced snowboarders and skiers at Loveland Pass. Among our fallen friends were: Joe Timlin, Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Gathering event organizer and rep for YES, NOW and Jones; Chris Peters; Ryan Novack; Ian Lamphere co-owner of Gecko Climbing Skins; and Rick Gaukel an American Mountain Guides Association-certified instructor and Wilderness First Responder. All were in their 30s, knowledgeable in backcountry awareness and were participating in an event to raise money for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Jerome Boulay, sales manager for Venture Snowboards, is the sole survivor thanks to impressive rescue team efforts.

Many have reached out to SNOWBOARD Magazine and our staff. We appreciate the outreach and concern but we were not involved with, or participants of, this event.

Our condolences and thoughts are with the victims’ families during this sad time.

From The Associated Press:

Snowboarder Mike Bennett of Dillon told the The Associated Press he dug through hard-packed snow to help free Boulay before finding two others buried about two feet below the surface.

“They were wrapped around each other, below a patch of trees,” he said.

Bennett said four of the victims were snowboarders and one was a skier.

Meanwhile, Adam Schmidt, editor in chief of Snowboard Colorado Magazine, told The Associated Press the event organized by Timlin, “ironically,” was aimed at promoting backcountry safety.

“Joe is really about the snowboarding community in Colorado,” said Schmidt, whose magazine was an event sponsor. “He really stressed making this event about backcountry safety. … Unfortunately, if Mother Nature decides to throw something at you, you can never be too prepared.”

For further information, please see the following related articles:
X Games: http://xgames.espn.go.com/article/9196383/colorado-authorities-identify-5-riders-killed-loveland-pass-avalanche

Transworld Business: http://business.transworld.net/127501/features/tragedy-strikes-colorado-snowboard-community-as-loveland-pass-avalanche-claims-five-lives

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/288680287931635/?ref=ts&fref=ts