Nightly News | February 20, 2012
>>> it was a deadly weekend for skiers out west. four killed in two separate avalanche incidents in the cascades range and washington state . some experts say this is shaping up to be one of the worst avalanche years in decades. it's nowhere near over yet. our report tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren.
>> three men were swept into a tsunami of snow and debris, their bodies found a quarter mile down the mountain.
>> the skiers began cpr on three males. unfortunately the cpr was not successful.
>> reporter: they were part of a group of is it skiers in search of untouched powder.
>> this is probably the 100th or 1,000th time they had been there. they knew the area well.
>> reporter: on sunday as they headed beyond the ski area boundary the snow cut loose.
>> we lost three amazing people. two of them were my really good friends.
>> reporter: professional skier elyse saugstad was also caught.
>> it feels like you're in a washing machine and you're being flipped and tumbled. it's scary.
>> reporter: she was wearing an avalanche airbag like this one designed to inflate and keep skiers near the surface of the snow.
>> i'm still in shock.
>> reporter: that same day in washington a young snowboarder died after being pushed over a # 500-foot cliff by another slide. it's being called the most dangerous season in almost 30 years. that may sound counterintuitive with so many places seeing below average snowfall but experts say that's part of the problem.
>> the early season snow changes into the consistency of ball bearings. it's like a house of cards .
>> reporter: this video of a recent colorado slide shows how quickly conditions can change.
>> we come up to try to enjoy ourselves. you have friends and the next thing you know they are gone.
>> reporter: hitting skiers strong in a season with a lot more snowfall ahead. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles .