Here is an update to the story.
Apparently both of them skied the same terrain on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday all hell broke loose.
Vaughn (who lived) skied down the slope leading to Yankee Doodle Lake first on Thursday, he stopped about half way down to watch Despres (who died) ski down after him. The next thing Vaughn remembers is he was in the middle of the slide started by Despres, he describes it as being rubbed along the ground for 600 feet. He describes it as slowly being crushed as the snow around his body grew denser, filling his breathing passages while trapping his arms, preventing him from clearing the snow from his nose and mouth. The further you go the tighter it packs around you. You know what is happening to you, you just can't do anything about it.
Suddenly Vaughn hit the frozen water of the lake, the force of the avalanche shattering the ice and creating a soupy, slush. The water allowed the snow surrounding him to float away. He said just as he was about to suffocate he could move his arm, he saw light and punched through.
Vaughn said he found himself floating in the middle of the lake about 100 feet from shore, still wearing his back pack he tried using ice chunks to help him float. He estimates it took him almost 30 minutes to navigate amoung the ice floating in the lake to get out.
He tried using his beacon to find Despres' signal but got nothing. He even tried calling his friends cell phone number. Soaking wet he walked for 3 hours to the top of Eldora mountain where a ski worker found him.
Vaughn figures he was just luckier than his friend.