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Avalanche swept dog away on Colorado mountain. Days later, it returned to trailhead

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An avalanche buried a snowboarder and her dog at a Colorado ski area, officials said. The dog was missing for days and was believed to be dead.

Then it wandered back to the trailhead days later, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

A skier, snowboarder and their dog were at Mount Peck on Thursday, March 10, when an avalanche swept through the mountain, officials said in an incident report.

The group triggered an avalanche at about 4 p.m. The skier was able to use his avalanche airbag, but he was still partially buried and lost a ski, officials said.

“The snowboarder who was below was unable to deploy her airbag and she was partially buried without a viable airway,” officials said in an incident report.

The skier rushed to help the snowboarder and was able to dig her out of the snow.

After the avalanche, the skier and snowboarder sent a text to a friend saying they had been caught in an avalanche but were OK. The text said they needed help getting back to the trailhead, the Chaffee County Search and Rescue team said.

Rescuers made it up the trail, but the snowboarder and skier refused medical care and made it off the mountain on their own.

The dog was initially believed to be killed in the avalanche. There were no tracks indicating the dog escaped.

However, the dog returned to the trailhead on Saturday, March 12, according to the Avalanche Information Center.

Skiers, snowmobilers and hikers can set off an avalanche when a layer of snow collapses and starts to slide down the slope.

In the U.S., avalanches are most common from December to April, but they can happen at any time if the conditions are right, National Geographic reported.

At least 11 people in the U.S. have died in avalanches this season as of March 13, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Mount Peck is about 160 miles southwest of Denver.

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