Photos: Joe Philpott's avalanche death may have accidentally been caused by dog

The latest skiing deaths to take place in Colorado were not at a resort, but a backcountry area near Nokhu Crags, south of Cameron Pass.

The human victim was Joe Philpott, a 26-year-old CSU student and experienced skier who was enjoying the beauty of a Colorado day with a friend, 24-year-old Alex White, who survived the slide, but barely. Also lost in the avalanche was a dog that accompanied the pals and may have inadvertently triggered the disaster. Photos, videos and more details below.

According to Philpott's Facebook page, his hometown was Durango, in Southwest Colorado, and he spent much of last year traveling: The "About" section lists stops in Flagstaff, Arizona, Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Durango in Mexico. As for his photo gallery, it includes many shots of nature, including images of him trying to protect it via his work as a wildland firefighter. Here's one example....

He clearly loved the great outdoors, and was enjoying it in the company of White, also a CSU student, on Saturday when disaster struck. According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the pair were in an area known as Paradise Bowl and had both completed their run. The working theory: The dog followed them down the mountain, causing the avalanche that swept over all three of them.

White was rescued after nearly three hours in the snow -- a truly miraculous turn of events. He's expected to fully recover. But Philpott didn't survive, and attempts to find the dog were unsuccessful. Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

Technical aspects of the avalanche are detailed by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which provides a video and a series of photos that catalog the destruction. Here's the first shot; like the images that follow, it features its CAIC caption.

Continue for more about the Cameron Pass avalanche, including photos and videos.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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