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Avalanches Hit Colorado, One Skier Dead- KJCT Ackerman interview

By Megan McNeil | Posted: Mon 6:12 PM, Mar 04, 2019

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- After two avalanches near I-70 Sunday, one blasting over the Interstate, road conditions improved on Monday.

Sunday, however, three feet of snow covered I-70 for 100 feet. Dozens of crashes and road blockades stalled the interstate.

Videos surfaced of cars driving when the avalanche hit the interstate."It's not unheard of, but it's rare to have an event like that happen," said Michael Ackerman, an avalanche instructor.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the last time avalanche debris crossed onto I-70 was back in 1983. CDOT said they looked carefully at road conditions and avalanche possibility and came to the conclusion to keep the road open at the time. But, as Ackerman said, mother nature can be unpredictable.

"Mother nature's going to bat last, and she's often fond of hitting a walk-off in the 9th inning," said Ackerman.

He and CDOT say when driving and an avalanche comes over the road to stop your car, turn it off and stay inside. The steel will help protect anyone inside.

In the San Juans, a back-country skier went missing Sunday. Reports came into the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office after someone called about a dog barking at a car. The Sheriff’s Office said the missing backcountry skier was out with his dog.

His body was found Monday afternoon after search and rescue efforts had to be delayed because of weather, according to the sheriff’s office. This makes the sixth avalanche fatality so far in the 2018/2019 season, already hitting the average.

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