KEYSTONE SKI RESORT, Colo. (CBS4) – The body of a Colorado man who was missing after an avalanche or series of avalanches in Summit County near Keystone Resort has been found.
Kevin Kuybus, 46, is the 10th person to die in an avalanche this season in the U.S. and the fourth since Sunday.
The Summit County Sheriff’s office said a 2,000 foot long avalanche was reported at noon on Monday in a backcountry area south of the ski resort. Keystone Resort officials also confirmed the slide.
Kuybus is from Highlands Ranch. His friend he was skiing with also got caught in the avalanche and was able to dig himself out. He couldn’t find Kuybus, and so he walked to Tiger Road, located near the town limits of Breckenridge.
Search and rescue teams started an intensive search for Kuybus at the area where the slide or slides happened, and it continued Tuesday morning. Part of the rescue effort included avalanche mitigation work to make sure the rescue crews were safe. Dogs were being used in the search.
“The avalanche was in an area called Vega Bowl, which is off of Outback at Keystone in an out-of-bounds area,” Charles Pitman from the Summit County Rescue Group said. “We spent several hours yesterday combing the debris field. We were not successful in locating the individual so we came back today.”
Pitman said it appeared that two slides had merged.
“Because of that there was sort of a “V” shape in the middle that had no slide. Keystone Patrol was able to get up there and mitigate that and make it safe for the rest of us to go in.”
Pitman said Kuybus had tracking chips in his boots and that’s how he was able to be located.
The avalanche was reportedly as deep as 9 feet in some places.
The search effort was described as follows: “Roughly 40 representatives, including four dogs, from Keystone Ski Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Summit County Rescue Group, Vail Mountain Rescue, Alpine Rescue Team and the U.S. Forest Service will be on-scene today to continue the search.”
It’s not clear whether the slide was triggered by the skiers or not. Volunteers involved in the search also told CBS4 they weren’t sure how the skiers got to the terrain they were skiing on when the avalanche happened.
Skiing in the backcountry is currently considered very dangerous due to the likelihood of avalanches after several days of heavy snowfall.
“Keystone Ski Patrol is constantly monitoring conditions and assessing the safety of the snow and regularly performs thorough avalanche mitigation across the resort’s in-bounds terrain,” resort officials said in a statement. “Anyone accessing the backcountry should consult the (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) avalanche forecast.”
A snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche near Kebler Pass southwest of Crested Butte on Monday. (Full Story)