Buffalo Mountain, South End of Gore Range
May 18, 2005

1 backcountry snowboarder caught, partly buried and injured

Early this afternoon -- shortly before 1300 hours -- a backcountry snowboarder triggered a small slab avalanche on the north side of Buffalo Mountain. He received at least leg and face injuries and was rescued by Summit County Rescue Group and Flight for Life.


Overview map


Detailed map of Buffalo Mountain, with the avalanche location in red.

The avalanche occurred in the central gully of the north face of Buffalo Mountain, about 4 miles west of Silverthorne. This ski descent is a often called a "classic" for its long and straight descent of nearly 3000 vertical feet.


Looking at the North Face of Buffalo Mountain. The slab released from about mid track. Though the gully generally faces to the north the avalanche released from the east-facing side of the gully. (Dan Moroz, 2005)


Looking at the slab avalanche release on the north face of Buffalo Mountain. The slab released from about mid track. This gully is a very popular ski descent and has been skied numerous times in recent days. If you look closely, you will see numerous old ski tracks. (Dan Moroz, 2005)

This same couloir was the site of a double avalanche fatality on April 9, 1993 when a group of 4 backcountry skiers were caught in a much larger avalanche.

Atkins, May 19.