Two Dead In Large Colorado Avalanche

By: CBSNews (posted by Lindsay Sax)
By: CBSNews (posted by Lindsay Sax)

LEADVILLE, Colorado -- Two skiers were killed and three others were injured in a large avalanche in Colorado, marking the third deadly slide in the state in less than a week, authorities said Sunday.

Susan Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Lake County Office of Emergency Management, said seven skiers on Star Mountain near Leadville triggered the slide at about 5 p.m. Saturday. Search and rescue crews found the bodies of two skiers Sunday afternoon.

"They were found near the top of the avalanche and they had beacons on, which really helped a lot," Matthews said. "The terrain there is extremely steep."

Three skiers were hospitalized with injuries that included a broken leg, a broken ankle and a possible broken rib and collapsed lung. One has since been discharged from the hospital. Authorities have not released the names of anyone involved.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center had been warning of dangerous conditions across much of Colorado's mountains after two weeks of heavy snow that lured backcountry skiers and snowboarders to the high country.

On Monday, Kevin Kuybus, 46, of Highlands Ranch, was caught in an avalanche while skiing just outside Keystone Ski Resort. Another person swept up in the slide managed to pull himself out and go for help.

Members of the Summit County Rescue Group recovered Kuybus' body Tuesday.

Another avalanche near Kebler Pass outside Crested Butte killed a snowmobiler Monday. Another person also was trapped in that slide but survived.

Meanwhile, authorities said three skiers survived an avalanche Monday near Silverton in southwestern Colorado. One man skied out and two others were swept into some trees but were not buried,

"We've had a much larger than average snowfall for this time of year," Matthews said. "My advice would be that anyone who does want to do backcountry skiing be totally prepared. Taking an avalanche education course would be really, really helpful. Being fully prepared with proper equipment, proper clothing, food, water and beacons."

CBS Denver reports that the Colorado Department of Transportation is doing what it can to keep drivers safe in the high country by conducting avalanche mitigation.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned drivers not to travel in avalanche terrain because of possible destructive slides.

Avalanche danger remains high on most mountain passes which means hard work for crews working to keep travelers safe.

"As long as winter is here and as long as it’s snowing we’re going to be concerned and we’re going to continue our mitigation efforts," said Tom Hurst from the CDOT Avalanche Mitigation Team.


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