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Wisconsin skiiers die in Colorado avalanche

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Two skiers from southern Wisconsin were killed over the weekend in an avalanche in Colorado. Authorities have not identified them -- but WISC TV in Madison said they were Jarrard Law and 32-year-old Justin Lentz, both of Portage.

The avalanche occurred Saturday about 120 miles southwest of Denver near Independence Pass, at an elevation of 11,000 feet. Lake County Emergency Management spokeswoman Susan Matthews said a total of seven skiers were swept away -- and investigators believe they triggered the slide in an area with steep and treacherous conditions.

The bodies of Law and Lentz were found yesterday afternoon at the top of the avalanche. A friend of both victims told WISC that Law worked at the Cascade Mountain ski area near Portage, and Lentz was a snowboarder. Three of the other skiers survived with injuries -- one with broken ribs and a lacerated kidney. The other two were buried in the avalanche but escaped unharmed.

Lentz and Law were the second-and-third Wisconsinites to die in Colorado avalanches this month. 26-year-old Joshua Lesniak of Berlin died last Monday, after he was buried in up to 20-feet of snow while snowmobiling with two others near Crested Butte Colorado.