The grandson of the co-founder of the popular Vail, Colorado ski resort was killed when an avalanche took him and three others by surprise as they skied and snowboarded just outside the boundaries of the mountain’s trails.
Anthony “Tony” Seibert, 24, died while off-piste on Vail Mountain, which was co-founded by his grandfather, Peter Seibert, Sr. The three surviving victims only suffered minor injuries, and left the area on their own without being taken to the hospital, according to Vail Valley Medical Center spokeswoman Lindsay Hogan.
Authorities were first made aware of the Vail avalanche at about 11:30 am. The incident occurred in the East Vail Chutes, which according to the Vail resort’s master development plan “is an extremely steep, avalanche-prone bowl that drains down to Interstate 70 or to East Vail.”
Ethan Greene from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) said the Vail avalanche was large, and occurred near the tree line “in backcountry wilderness where they do not have avalanche control.”
“This (avalanche) was most likely triggered by the people who got caught in it,” Greene said. This is when most such accidents occur, especially when the weather is fair, Greene explained. “Today was apparently a beautiful day up in Vail and therefore would be an appealing day to be out in the backcountry.”
This is the second recent deadly avalanche in Colorado. In April of 2013, five snowboarders were killed in Loveland Pass.
— Ryan Parker (@ryanparkerdp) January 8, 2014
On Tuesday, the avalanche danger in the Vail area was a three on a scale from one to five, after several days of heavy snow and high winds affected the region, according to Spencer Logan, forecaster with the CAIC,
Two of those trapped in the snow at the time of the avalanche in Vail were on skis, the other two on snowboards. It is unknown what Seibert was doing, Jessie Mosher of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.
Those who knew the victim of the Vail avalanche remember him as an uplifting and cheerful person. As one friend, Scott Klumb, commented, “He was always goofing around or getting other people excited and just making them happy.”