Nightly News   |  April 21, 2013

Thrill seekers return to Colorado slope where avalanche killed five

One day after five snowboarders were killed in a massive backcountry avalanche on Loveland Pass, Colorado, thrill seekers returned on Sunday, saying they know the risk and it is worth the reward. NBC’s Leanne Gregg reports.

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>>> it happened in an instant this weekend, a huge afternoon lampbl came crashing down on a group of snowboarders in colorado . five of them were killed, a tragic reminder that the thrill of going beyond. boundaries can come at a tremendous cost. we get the story tonight from nbc's leanne gregg.

>> reporter: a day after five snowboarders were killed in a massive back country avalanche on loveland pass , thrill seekers returned.

>> the adrenalin rush. that's why i'm here.

>> back country ski something amazing. it is fantastic. but everyone has to be cognizant of the risk at all times.

>> reporter: they were not far from where the 600- foot wide and 8-foot deep afternoon lavlg swept up six snowboarders. only one survived. he freed himself and called for help. when rescuers arrived it was too late for the others.

>> they were buried in very hard, heavy debris so they either sustained injures o are they died from suffocation in the debris pile.

>> reporter: all six men in their 30s were expert riders. among those who perished, ian lamb fear, trained as a heli ski guide in alaska. another, one of the most educated back country guides in the world. joe timlin, quoted as saying snowboarding was his life. they were all well equipped with proper safety gear .

>> just because you have all the rescue equipment, it doesn't prevent the avalanches.

>> reporter: this helmet video of a skier caught in an avalanche shows the horror of being trapped under a mountain of snow. he was able to create an air pocket and a quick response from friends saved his life. saturday's avalanche was the deadliest in colorado in more than 50 years. this season nationwide 24 people have died in avalanches. 11 in colorado . heavy spring snow , more than three feet in less than two weeks, has caused volatile conditions.

>> if you go to the wrong place, the outcome is tragic.

>> reporter: a somber call for caution as the ski and snowboard community mourns for five of their own. leanne gregg, nbc news, loveland pass , colorado .