Photos: Skier killed after double avalanche near Keystone

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At around noon on February 10, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office, news surfaced about an avalanche in the backcountry south of Keystone.

A report from the indispensable Colorado Avalanche Information Center specifies the location as the North Fork of Swan River. Here's the first of five CAIC photos from the scene; all captions are by the center staff.

The skier who told authorities about the avalanche was able to free himself, but he couldn't find his companion, described as a Front Range man in his forties.

Search teams with dogs were immediately dispatched to the slide zone. Participants included around forty representatives from Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, the Summit County Rescue Group, Vail Mountain Rescue, the Alpine Rescue Team and the U.S. Forest Service.

But despite the size of this contingent, the man couldn't be located on day one, and no wonder: The debris field was estimated at more than a third of a mile in length and up to nine feet deep in spots.

The search was suspended at 6 p.m. on February 10 for reasons of safety and visibility. But it picked up again on the next day -- and at about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, the man's body was found. His identity has not yet been released, pending family notification.

What happened?

Continue for more about the avalanche death near Keystone, including additional photos.
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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