ASPEN, Colo. (AP) -- Aspen Skiing Company officials say an on-duty ski patrol member has died in an avalanche, becoming the first reported avalanche fatality so far this winter.
The 49-year-old Snowmass employee was reportedly killed when the avalanche carried her over a cliff Sunday.
The resort says she was skiing alone in an area known as the Ship's Prow Glades. Her name hasn't been released.
Experts say that the season's dry start could mean increased avalanche danger later. Brian Lazar with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center told The Summit Daily News (http://bit.ly/Z16TCH ) that a weak base layer has been topped with more snow than last season.
Last year's first death of seven came in January. An average of 25 people die in avalanches in the U.S. every year.