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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Honesdale native dies in avalanche

  • A Honesdale native was among five snowboarders killed in an avalanche this past weekend.
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     — A Honesdale native was among five snowboarders killed in an avalanche this past weekend.
    Ryan Novak, 33, who lived in Boulder, was among those killed Saturday in the deadliest avalanche tragedy in Colorado in 60 years.
    Novak was a 1999 graduate of Honesdale High School.
    He was one of six snowboarders who were in the area at the Loveland Pass ski area, which is about 60 miles west of Denver. Loveland Pass has an elevation of 11,990 feet and is on the Continental Divide. The area is popular with snowboarders and skiers.
    The others killed in the avalanche were Chris Peters, 32, Lakewood, Colo.; Joe Timlin, 32, Gypsum, Colo.; Ian Lamphere, 36, Crested Butte, Colo; and Rick Gaukel, 33, of Estes Parke, Colo.
    Another man, Jerome Boulay, the manager of a Colorado snowboard company, survived the avalanche with no injuries.
    All were participating in the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash.
    Officials in Colorado said the six snowboarders ventured into an out-of-bounds zone above the Loveland Pass ski area.
    The five snowboarders who died were trapped under about eight feet of snow. The avalanche was reported as 200 yards wide and 400 yards long.
    Officials estimated the avalanche traveled between 50 and 60 miles per hour.
    After the lone survivor was found, rescuers remained in the area and made attempts to reach the others. They were on the scene into the evening trying to reach the snowboarders but were up against a heavy snowstorm in the Loveland Pass area, according to Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger.
    Officials at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) had predicted "considerable" danger Saturday in the area where the slide took place. There were warnings to carefully evaluate snowpack conditions and choose routes carefully. CAIC also warned people to "make conservative decisions" before venturing out into the snow.
    Page 2 of 2 - The CAIC said it was the second deadliest avalanche in the nation since 1950. The worst was in 1962 at Twin Lakes, Colo., when seven people were killed.
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