SUMMIT COUNTY — The body of a missing skier was found at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, 24 hours after an avalanche in the out-of-bounds backcountry area south of Keystone Ski Resort.
Kevin Kuybus, of Highlands Ranch, died from blunt force chest trauma, according to the Summit County Coroner’s Office. He was wearing a helmet, Timothy Keeling said in his coroner’s report. Kuybus is the 10th person to die in an avalanche nationally this winter and the fourth since Sunday. His body was found and recovered by the Summit County Rescue Group.
Kuybus, 46, was reported missing in an avalanche that took place around noon on Monday. Kuybus was with another skier who was also caught in the slide but able to self-extract, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. That skier then reported the avalanche, saying he was unable to locate Kuybus. The name of the survivor is not being released at this time because the incident is still under investigation, said Tracy LeClair, Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
Tuesday morning, search teams were re-deployed as soon as avalanche mitigation was complete and the area was deemed safe. Charles Pitman, Summit County Rescue Group spokesman, said the operation began between 7:30 and 8 a.m., and the rescue group got into the field around 10:30 a.m. It took about an hour to locate Kuybus’ body, Pitman said.
LeClair said the two skiers were not carrying avalanche beacons, but some of their equipment had RECCO reflectors. The reflectors are integrated into gear and require no batteries. The rescuers located the body with a RECCO device, about a quarter to a third of the way up the hill from the Tiger Road staging site, Pitman said.
OTHER AVALANCHE DEATHS
A snowmobiler also died in an avalanche Monday near Crested Butte. Both avalanches happened on a day the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) had issued a special backcountry avalanche warning. On Sunday, 21-year-old Ashleigh Cox of Colorado Springs died after being caught in an avalanche in Utah while she was snowshoeing in American Fork Canyon. Also on Sunday, Clint Conover, 36, died after being buried in a slide in Utah while snowmobiling.
According to the CAIC, the current avalanche danger rating is high. Avalanche conditions are considered very dangerous and travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.