'I thought we were going to die:' Family's car gets buried in avalanche

FRISCO, Colo. (KKTV) - Experts are expecting more avalanches in Colorado's high country this weekend as more winter storms head our way.

Colorado's Avalanche Information Center tells 11 News they have not yet added up the exact number of avalanches this week, but they are calling it "historic."

"We saw avalanches running larger than we have in 20 or 30, and in some cases maybe even 50 or even 100 years," said Spencer Logan, an avalanche forecaster with CAIC.

On Thursday, a massive snow slide on Highway 91 buried four cars, including the Reyes family.

"I thought we were going to die," Sergio Reyes said.

The Reyeses say the force of the avalanche busted their back window and engulfed their car. Snow came pouring into the backseat and buried their 2-year-old daughter Vanessa.

"The back of the seat was full of snow. He couldn't see her at all so he was digging and digging. I was panicking because I couldn't take my seat belt off," Karla Reyes said. "We were scared no one would hear us yell or scream, because we were screaming."

CBS News reports a state trooper came to help and pulled the family out.


Thursday's avalanche is one in just a series of slides this week. The avalanches have shut down highways, stranded drivers, and ruptured gas lines. On March 7, a skier was buried and killed in an avalanche near Jones Pass in the Front Range.

The CAIC has placed the Front Range, Vail & Summit County, Aspen, Grand Mesa, Gunnison, and the Sahwatch range under a high avalanche warning through Sunday morning.

"The additional snow is going to keep avalanche danger elevated," said Logan. "We can expect avalanche conditions to be dangerous, maybe even very dangerous, for the next two days.”

CDOT says the weather is creating a continual challenge for drivers in the mountains. On Thursday, crews were out at U.S. 6/Loveland Pass and areas by Arapahoe Basin removing snow.

A spokesperson for CDOT tells 11 News they have done a lot of avalanche mitigation, but if there is more snow they may need to go back to some areas. CDOT recommends drivers be prepared for mitigation to happen anywhere in the mountains this weekend, and with that, potential delays on the roadways.