2 men confirmed dead after weekend avalanche near Vail

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VAIL, Colo. (KKTV) - Two snow bike riders are confirmed dead after an avalanche near Vail over the weekend.

Searchers recovered the bodies of 28-year-old Dillon Block and 30-year-old Cesar Almanza-Hernandez Sunday, about 24 hours after the snowslide.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says Block and Almanza-Hernandez were riding motorized bikes with a third man when they were caught in an avalanche 10 miles north of Vail. Block and Almanza-Hernandez were swept up by the snow and carried into a gully at the bottom of a drainage area.

"Avalanche debris piled up deeply and they were fully buried and killed," CAIC said in its preliminary report.

The third rider was only partially buried and was able to dig himself out. He was the sole survivor. He immediately ran for help, enlisting several people he found nearby to try and dig out his friends, sister station KCNC reports.

“Two snowmobilers stopped next to us,” Hunter Schleper, one of the people who assisted Saturday, told KCNC. “They asked if we had beacons and shovels, if we could go help locate these guys. Instantly, everyone on our crew was jumping on it.”

Schleper said he and his friends dug for five hours until Vail Mountain Rescue got to the scene and told everyone to stop, citing poor visibility and risk of another avalanche.

Searchers returned Sunday and found the bodies.

According to CAIC's preliminary reports, the avalanche that killed the two men was roughly 650 feet wide and ran 120 vertical feet.

Monday, avalanche risk ranges from moderate to considerable (or 2-3 on a scale of 1-5) in Colorado's central and northern mountains. A map from the CAIC showing the risk throughout the state can be seen below (click "Additional Content Available" if viewing on the app.)