Vail founder’s grandson dies in East Vail Chutes backcountry avalanche
Ryan Summerlin January 10, 2014
VAIL — An avalanche in the East Vail Chutes has left the 24-year-old grandson of Vail’s founder dead.
Tony Seibert, of Vail, died in the slide, which occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis. Seibert is the grandson of Vail founder Pete Seibert.
Three other skiers were injured in the avalanche and have been released from the hospital, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Bettis said the cause of death will be determined after an autopsy Wednesday.
The East Vail Chutes is an out-of-bounds area accessible through a gate from the lift-served area of Vail Mountain. It is popular with backcountry skiers but has been the site of numerous avalanche fatalities over the years.
The avalanche danger in the area is rated as considerable.
Experts say slides there are becoming harder to trigger but when slides develop they are very large and dangerous.
“One of the problems we’re dealing with over the last two days is windloading,” said Spencer Logan with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. “We’ve had a few small storms accompanied by very strong winds and that drift the snow into slabs 2 to 4 feet thick. Those are on top of the snowpack, and on the bottom of the snowpack we have a really weak foundation, we have early-season snow that sat on the ground, and it gets really weak in cold weather, and then we’ve had some pretty good snowfall in December that’s covered that.”
Logan said the Colorado Avalanche Information Center has a team of forecasters heading out to the site of today’s slide on Wednesday to gather facts and information about the incident.
Five people have died in avalanches in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana in the last two weeks.
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