Snowboarders Facing Huge Bill for Damage Caused By Avalanche

Two snowboarders who handed over their GoPro footage of an avalanche to the authorities could have to pay up to $168,000 in damages after being accused of triggering the slide.

The two have been charged with reckless endangerment following the avalanche in Loveland, Colorado.

It came across a road in the spring and buried hundreds of feet of roadway above the west portal of the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels on the Interstate-70.

The loop road was buried under 20 feet of debris but no one was caught in the slide.

We reported on the criminal charges in News in Brief  on Tuesday 11th August.

The two men have pleaded not guilty.

It is understood that they are being asked to pay for the damage to an expensive avalanche mitigation device, which was destroyed.

Google Earth image showing the avalanche trail - photo Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Google Earth image showing the avalanche trail – photo Colorado Avalanche Information Center

According to the Summit Daily News the snowboarders handed their GoPro footage to the authorities.

The newspaper says Evan Hannibal, a resident of Vail, did not expect the comments they made on the footage to be used against them.

His friend who was with him, Tyler DeWitt, is quoted as saying they tried to release a small slab of snow but their attempts caused a bigger reaction than they were expecting.

“I was trying to release the small wind-drifted slab that had been releasing naturally along this wall throughout the day,” DeWitt said.

“I wanted this to slide before I was in the choke and still on shallow snow.”

The two snowboarders watched the avalanche, made their way down to the bottom through the debris and called the authorities, giving statements to the Summit County Sheriff’s Department.

“Clearly, we made a mistake,” Evan Hannibal told the newspaper.

“But this is not the only area in Colorado where people have snowboarded with a road nearby that has the potential to be buried should a slide occur, and I’ve never heard of anyone receiving a criminal penalty for making a mistake like this.”

Brian Metzger of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said the two men had been worried about the conditions but continued anyway.

“After the avalanche was triggered there was a comment made about how he hoped there was no one on the road. There was also a comment made about being in trouble if the cops show up.”

Read the full story in the Summit Daily News