Photos: Skier killed after double avalanche near Keystone

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Big photos below.
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.

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.

keystone.avalanche.1.jpg
Courtesy Colorado Avalanche Information Center
"Looking down to toe of debris."
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.

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.

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Courtesy Colorado Avalanche Information Center
"Looking up at avalanche track.."
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.

What happened?

Continue for more about the avalanche death near Keystone, including additional photos.


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27 comments
ConnorKuybus
ConnorKuybus

I'm the son of the man who died. You writers are idiots you wanna see good writers, look at 9news or the Highlands Ranch News paper!

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Nope. There have been in-bounds avalanches too.

Jason Breault
Jason Breault

Be careful peeps snow is getting really deep an unstable jah bless the high country

Kay Dirling
Kay Dirling

Backcountry skiing is ALWAYS too risky. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems like every one of these deaths comes off the established trails.

Joshua David
Joshua David

The entire point in this kind of skiing is the very high risk it involves.

Jack Quinn
Jack Quinn

And yet all the lawmakers care about is cannabis related. Score skiing deaths last 3 days = 3 while cannabis related deaths from use is still 0 for all time! Our hobbies are much more lethal and dangerous then cannabis use whether medical or recreational.

Steve Holmberg
Steve Holmberg

Clueless amateurs, like Lawrence Ferguson, should not be in the backcountry if they don't understand the dynamics and snow science of avalanche! Heed the CAIC Avy report and understand your personal limitations, or die.

Sean Hochman
Sean Hochman

Most people are very unaware of how risky going out of bounds is

Sean Hochman
Sean Hochman

We don't need more laws we need more education on what causes dangerous conditions.

James Gold
James Gold

To address your question, Westword-- I don't think backcountry skiers are drawn to it for the safety.

Siobhan Keleher
Siobhan Keleher

It's the wilderness. It's not safe. It's unfortunate that he died but that's the risk you take.

Robin Shaw
Robin Shaw

My friend is in summit county mountain rescue... He was the one to find the body yesterday. So sad and unnecessary. It has been all over the news that avalanche danger is very high and imminent.

Robert Smith
Robert Smith

@ rob....the nanny state laws cannot help everyone born in the shallow end of the gene pool..

Robert Smith
Robert Smith

Like I said before, Extreme skiing can have extreme consequences...

Lawrence Ferguson
Lawrence Ferguson

Now times this rock by that of a fridge. Or car .and its in with the snow. When the loose rock under it cant take the wight .they slide and take the snow with it

Lawrence Ferguson
Lawrence Ferguson

Its not just the snow that kills its the loose rock coverd in snow and the trees .thay carry on therr way down as well

Lissa Dalmer
Lissa Dalmer

In way less of conditions than this, it's too risky.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Good point, James. We're going to feature your comment in an upcoming Comment of the Day post. Much appreciated.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Siobhan.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Very sad. Thanks for the post, Robin. We're going to feature it in an upcoming Comment of the Day.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Lots of people agree with you, Lissa. Thanks for posting. We're going to share your thoughts in an upcoming Comment of the Day.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Succinctly put, Jeff. We're going to include your post in an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

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