HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – The neighbor of a Highlands Ranch man who was killed in an avalanche this week told CBS4 he thought his friend always put safety first when he went skiing.
“I don’t think he was prepared for what they got into, but also I don’t think that was their intent at all,” said Brian McClain, the neighbor of Kevin Kuybus, 46. “I think it was a wrong turn.”
Kuybus was killed on Monday when two avalanches that merged and stretched 2,500 feet down a mountainside in Summit County buried him and a friend he was skiing with. His friend was able to dig himself out and eventually call for help after he couldn’t locate Kuybus.
Emergency crews found Kuybus’ body on Tuesday after a two day search at the site of the slide, which was 300 feet wide and 10 feet deep. Kuybus wasn’t wearing an avalanche beacon, which complicated the search effort.
The avalanche happened in a backcountry area south of Keystone Resort, and so far authorities aren’t sure what triggered the slide.
“They were staying very close to the trees — which was a very smart thing to do — and it let loose on them. And that’s what we’re trying to determine now, is why it let loose. Was it something they did or was it something that occurred from above?” Summit County Rescue Group member Charles Pitman said.
Summit County officials so far haven’t identified the name of the man Kuybus was skiing with. They also haven’t said if they know why the two men were skiing where they were.
Kuybus and his wife had two children, and McClain said he will be greatly missed by his family and in his community.
“He was just a very outgoing, loving person.” McClain said. “Skiing was one of his great passions, but I think more than skiing was his family — his love for his sons, his love for his wife.”
Avalanche experts continue to warn against venturing into much of Colorado’s backcountry because of the heavy top load of new snow. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says conditions are very dangerous across the Front Range, Aspen and in Summit County.
Kuybus is one of six people who have died in avalanches in the Western United States since Sunday. Four of those fatalities have been in Colorado, including a snowmobiling death near Kebler Pass southwest of Crested Butte on Monday. (Full Story)