DENVER (KDVR) — A family member has identified a Colorado Springs man as the person killed Friday in an avalanche near Marble.
Nate Schmidt, 27, was snowshoeing with friends in the backcountry when an avalanche triggered, burying him and his two dogs. Their bodies were recovered on Saturday.
“All of us had hope until the very last moment when they found his body today because we knew if anyone could survive an avalanche, it would be Nathan,” cousin Laura Vitkavage told FOX31.
Schmidt was an Eagle Scout who loved the outdoors, especially the mountains.
“He’s just an all-around amazing guy, and we’re all just devastated,” Vitkavage said.
The two people snowshoeing with Schmidt were partially buried but were able to dig out and alert rescuers.
“We do know the last thing he did was tell his friends to run,” Vitkavage said.
“Even in the emergency, he was the leader, and he was the one that …. did his best to protect his friends,” she added.
The avalanche happened while Colorado’s mountains were under a weekend-long advisory as temperatures warmed from a week of snow and Arctic cold. Vitkavage said Schmidt was experienced, prepared and knew the risks that come with backcountry exploration.
“It’s always important to remember that this is Mother Nature and accidents do happen, and some things are not preventable,” she said.