Photos: Skier killed after double avalanche near Keystone
For the third consecutive day, we have sad news to report about the death of a skier in the Colorado high country -- and the second in the vicinity of the Keystone ski area. But while the previous tragedy, involving a 46-year-old man who died after smashing into a tree over the weekend, will go down as an official ski-resort death (like that of publicity-shy St. Louis oil executive Gary R. Parker, who passed away after a crash at Beaver Creek), the latest fatality won't, since it took place following twin avalanches beyond Keystone's boundaries. Details and photos below.
Big photos below.
At around noon on February 10, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office, news surfaced about an avalanche in the backcountry south of Keystone.
A report from the indispensable Colorado Avalanche Information Center specifies the location as the North Fork of Swan River. Here's the first of five CAIC photos from the scene; all captions are by the center staff.
The skier who told authorities about the avalanche was able to free himself, but he couldn't find his companion, described as a Front Range man in his forties.
Courtesy Colorado Avalanche Information Center "Looking down to toe of debris."
Search teams with dogs were immediately dispatched to the slide zone. Participants included around forty representatives from Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, the Summit County Rescue Group, Vail Mountain Rescue, the Alpine Rescue Team and the U.S. Forest Service.
But despite the size of this contingent, the man couldn't be located on day one, and no wonder: The debris field was estimated at more than a third of a mile in length and up to nine feet deep in spots.
The search was suspended at 6 p.m. on February 10 for reasons of safety and visibility. But it picked up again on the next day -- and at about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, the man's body was found. His identity has not yet been released, pending family notification.
Courtesy Colorado Avalanche Information Center "Looking up at avalanche track.."
Continue for more about the avalanche death near Keystone, including additional photos.