A backcountry skier killed in a huge avalanche Thursday on Jones Pass was an employee of an Empire backcountry ski guide company, a news release from the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office said.

Hans Berg, 48, was guiding a group hired by his employer, Powder Addiction, near Jones Pass just before 2 p.m. when he was caught in a huge slide. Berg's fellow guides reported the avalanche to local authorities, who then dug out and transported Berg to the hospital.

He died shortly after 7 p.m.

No one else was caught in the slide, which the avalanche center rated as R4, D4, meaning it was rated as a four out of five for its size relative to its path and destructive force.

Powder Addiction wrote in a Facebook post that the slide that killed Berg was triggered by two non-guided skiers that were traveling on a dangerous slope above his guided group.

"The Powder Addiction group was skiing in accordance with standard operation procedures in a well known and frequently skied area," the Facebook post says. "The Powder Addiction family is distraught by Han's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Han's family and friends during this heartbreaking time."

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Avalanche danger in the Front Range zone was rated as high Thursday. 

The avalanche center also issued an avalanche warning for the Front Range, advising travelers to avoid travel in or below unstable terrain.

"These are exceptional avalanche conditions," the warning read.

The Sheriff's Office also warned people to refrain from going into the backcountry until danger eases.

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The man's death is the seventh in the state this season and the second this week.

Another skier identified as 53-year-old Scott Spencer was killed in a slide Sunday near Telluride. The San Miguel County Sheriff's Office said he was reported missing after when went skiing with his dog in the Matterhorn Nordic area. His dog was later found barking by his car.

Rescue teams and avalanche dogs recovered his body Monday.

Twitter: @lizmforster

Phone: 636-0193

Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and sweet potato enthusiast. Liz joined The Gazette in June 2017.

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