Two die in separate Colorado avalanches on Valentine's Day

Two people were killed in separate avalanches in the Colorado mountains this weekend.

(CNN)Two people died in separate avalanches in Colorado on Sunday, the latest in a series of deadly avalanches that have already claimed the lives of 17 others across seven states this year.

The fatalities mark the fifth and sixth avalanche deaths in the state in 2021, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC)
A snowboarder was caught in an avalanche Sunday morning near the Loveland Pass Ski area, the CAIC website shows.
      The snowboarder was traveling in a backcountry area about 50 miles west of Denver when the avalanche struck around 9:30 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET).
        A snowboarder was caught and killed in an avalanche near Loveland Pass ski area Sunday.
        The avalanche ran on an east facing slope east of Mount Trelease at an elevation over 12,000 feet, the preliminary report from CAIC said.
          The victim has been identified as David Heide, 57, of Saint Mary's, Clear Creek County Undersheriff Bruce Snelling told CNN in an email Monday.
          Search and Rescue personnel found the victim buried in avalanche debris, according to CAIC.
          About 50 miles north, a snowmobiler was caught and killed in a second avalanche west of Rollins Pass on Mount Epworth Sunday, CAIC reported.
          The avalanche occurred on an east-facing, above tree line slope, burying the snowmobiler underneath his sled on Pumphouse Lake.
          Colorado has seen six avalanche fatalities just this month for a total of ten this season, more than any other state according to the CAIC count.
          In December, three backcountry skiers were killed in two separate avalanches a day a part.
          Three men, all local officials from Eagle County, Colorado, were killed in an avalanche near Ophir on the first of the month, CNN previously reported.
          Two skiers were caught in an avalanche near Vail a few days later, with one digging out and the other dying, according to CAIC.
          Fatal avalanches have also been reported in six other states, including a Washington State Trooper who was killed while snowmobiling in Kittitas County, Washington last week and four backcountry skiers who were caught and killed in Utah earlier this month.
            Nikki Champion, a forecaster at the Utah Avalanche center told CNN earlier this month that the deadly season could be the result of two reasons -- people enjoying more time outdoors and a "really dangerous snowpack."
            This year's avalanche season has likely been more active because of a "persistent weak layer" of snow, she said.