Durangoan dies in avalanche

3 caught in slide near Silverton; 1 taken to Mercy

A 23-year-old Durango man died and another was injured when their backcountry skiing group was caught in an avalanche Saturday afternoon near Silverton. A third member of the group, another Durango man, escaped without serious injuries, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The skier who died was Peter Carver, said Melody Skinner, administrative assistant with San Juan County Dispatch.

John Duncan Rothwell, 53, suffered a possible broken femur, Skinner said, and Nate Klema, 23, escaped without serious injuries.

The accident occurred about 1½ miles north of Gladstone on Bureau of Land Management land outside the boundaries of Silverton Mountain Ski Area, Skinner said.

Skinner said three others in the vicinity witnessed the avalanche, and one member of that party went to the ski area to report it and to seek assistance. The Sheriff’s Office was notified at 2:53 p.m., she said.

Ski area staff and Sheriff’s Deputy John Jacobs responded to the scene and removed the body, Skinner said.

A Flight for Life helicopter responded to the scene, but Rothwell declined the flight and was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center by ambulance, she said.

Local avalanche forecasters Mark Gober and Susan Hale with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center were expected to go to the scene of the accident today to evaluate what happened and submit a report.