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TODAY   |  April 22, 2013

Deadly Colo. avalanche kills five snowboarders

The deadliest Colorado avalanche in 50 years claimed the lives of five expert snowboarders this weekend near the Loveland Pass ski area. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> the deadliest colorado avalanche in 50 years claimed the lives of five snowboarders this weekend near the loveland pass ski area . kristen dahlgren has more.

>> reporter: it started as an event promoting back country safety, but by the end of the day , five were dead, buried beneath a massive slide.

>> there's big blocks of snow that weigh probably as much as a vehicle.

>> reporter: as the group of six climbed on saturday, the snow broke free. the only survivor was able to escape to the edge of the slide and call for help . but the other five, all expert riders in their 30s, couldn't be saved. among them, the founder of backcountry tv. one was a wilderness first responder and called one of the most educated back country snowboard guides in the world. and joe timlan describes snowboarding as his life. all had avalanche safety gear with them. on sunday, friends gathered to mourn.

>> people are a lot more broken up than what i'm putting out right now.

>> reporter: but not far from the slide, skiers and boarders were back out on sunday.

>> the adrenaline rush , that's why i'm here.

>> reporter: drawn by fresh snow, but facing a harsh reality.

>> you can't let your guard down. because we're seeing big, bad avalanches.

>> reporter: that in an instant can take even those considered the best. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles .