A male skier in his 40s from the Front Range was missing Tuesday evening after an avalanche was reported at around noon Monday in the backcountry area south of Keystone Resort in Summit County.
The man was with another skier who was also caught in the slide but able to self-extract, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. This skier then reported the avalanche, saying he was unable to locate his companion.
The avalanche debris field was approximately 2,000 feet in length with depths up to 9 feet. The cause is still under investigation.
On Monday, search teams with dogs were deployed from both the top and bottom of the slide area, near the end of Tiger Road. Summit County Rescue Group responded with additional personnel, and conducted probe searchers. The search continued until approximately 6 p.m., when visibility and conditions became too dangerous to continue the search, according to the sheriff’s office.
As of Tuesday morning, search teams were set to be re-deployed as soon as avalanche mitigation is complete and the area is deemed safe. 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 were out to continue the search.
A snowmobiler also died in an avalance Monday near Crested Butte. Both avalanches happened on a day the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) had issued a special backcountry avalanche warning. 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.