CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2021/02/16 - Colorado - West of Ruby Mountain, southeast of Rand

Published 2021/02/19 by Mike Cooperstein - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: West of Ruby Mountain, southeast of Rand
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2021/02/16
  • Time: 12:00 AM (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: 2 snowmobilers caught, 1 partially buried, 1 fully buried and killed
  • Primary Activity: Snowmobiler
  • Primary Travel Mode: Snowmobile


  • Caught: 1
  • Fully Buried: 1
  • Injured: 0
  • Killed: 1


  • Type: HS
  • Trigger: AM - Snowmobile
  • Trigger (subcode): u - An unintentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: R4
  • Size - Destructive Force: D3
  • Sliding Surface: O - Within Old Snow


  • Slope Aspect: NE
  • Site Elevation: 11400 ft
  • Slope Angle: 37 °
  • Slope Characteristic: --

Accident Summary

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at around 3:00 PM, two snowmobilers were caught in a large avalanche near Ruby Mountain southeast of Rand, Colorado. Rider 1 was partially buried sitting upright on his snowmobile and was not injured. Rider 2 was fully buried and killed. The accident occurred near treeline on a northeast-facing slope at around 11,400 feet. The avalanche broke on a weak layer about 3 feet below the surface and stepped down to deeper buried weak layers near the ground in some places. It was approximately three quarters of a mile wide and ran about 400 vertical feet. 

Riders 1 and 2 were with four other snowmobilers at the time of the accident. Rider 2 was standing on a steep slope away from his snowmobile when the avalanche occurred. He was swept downhill and buried about two feet deep. He was not wearing an avalanche transceiver. Despite efforts from the other riders and Search and Rescue (SAR) members who arrived a few hours after the accident, he was not located on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, an avalanche search dog alerted rescuers to his location. His body was recovered by SAR teams on Wednesday afternoon.  

Our condolences to the friends and family of the victim.