Colorado's first-ever criminal charges following an avalanche incidentAn avalanche that occurred in Colorado this spring is gleaning a lot of attention and may be setting a new precedent for backcountry recreation-related incidents. On March 25th, two snowboarders triggered a small avalanche which triggered a deeper instability further down the slope. The avalanche damaged an O'Bell X avalanche mitigation device and then buried a service road with the deposit reaching 20ft at its deepest.
The crown where the deeper instability failed. Image courtesy of the Colorado Sun.
The criminal charge is for reckless endangerment and the prosecutor is seeking $168,000 to pay for the avalanche mitigation device which was destroyed by the slide. The defense argues that the case is unprecedented and that this will deter recreationists from sharing information from avalanche incidents that could be used as educational examples which may help to prevent later incidents.
After the incident, the two boarders reported the avalanche and turned over video footage and details of the avalanche of their own accord. That information is now being used against them in their case, an outcome they had never envisioned.
To read the full story, be sure to check out this article from the Colorado Sun. Regardless of the outcome, this case will surely impact the way the future of recreation in the area, as well as establish a precedent that could potentially ripple through the entire outdoor industry.