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Amid extreme danger, skier dies in Jones Pass avalanche

Hans Berg, an employee of Powder Addiction, was killed in the slide Thursday afternoon.
Credit: KUSA

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — An employee of a backcountry ski company died after he was caught and buried by an avalanche Thursday afternoon on Jones Pass in Clear Creek County, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office was notified of the slide just before 2 p.m. by the company Powder Addiction.

Hans Berg, 48, an employee of that company, was caught and buried by the avalanche, the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office said.

"The Powder Addiction group was skiing in accordance with standard operation procedures in a well known and frequently skied area," the company said in a Facebook post.  

The post also said that the avalanche was triggered by two recreational skiers that skied out onto a slope far above the group of skiers from the company.

RELATED: Multiple avalanches close mountain highways for hours on Thursday

Avalanche danger remained high on Friday but was reduced from the extreme level that was in place Thursday.

In a Facebook post Thursday morning, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) said four backcountry zones had gone to extreme (5 of 5) Avalanche Danger for the first time since the 10-zone forecast format began 12 years ago.  It urged people not to travel in or near avalanche terrain. 

RELATED: 4 cars buried by avalanche on Highway 91

The decision to elevate to extreme is subjective by the forecasters, but generally, when avalanche danger is extreme, it means the probability of avalanche is almost "certain" and the size would be "historic", according to the CAIC. 

RELATED: A-Basin closure extends to Friday morning due to extreme avalanche danger

Avalanche warnings are in place for the Front Range, Steamboat, Flat Tops, Vail, Summit County, Sawatch, Aspen, Gunnison, Grand Mesa and San Juan Mountains through Saturday morning.

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