Longtime Vail local Maldwyn George Zang found dead in Gore Creek Tuesday morning
VAIL — A longtime Vail local was found dead Tuesday morning, face up in Gore Creek near Lionshead.
Maldwyn “Maldy” George Zang, 59, of Vail, is a long-time local and is survived by his two sisters and one brother.
Zang both worked with and was beloved by Vail’s Bart and Yeti’s crew, staffers there said Tuesday afternoon. He attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in the 1970s.
“He was a good man to people, and he was one of the greatest characters we’ve seen in the valley,” said Bart and Yeti’s Dennis Foley. “We have one of every kind of person here and that’s what makes Vail so special. He’ll be missed.”
Maldwyn worked in Bart and Yeti’s kitchen for 40 years, longer than Foley says he has owned the place.
“Every epic hike I’ve done, I’ve done with him,” Foley said.
The cause of death remains under investigation, but the frigid overnight temperatures played a factor, said Vail Police Det. Luke Causey, public information officer.
Causey said Zang was frozen, and there was ice all around him.
Zang’s sunglasses were found spotted just upstream, and he had a cut on the bridge of his nose, indicating that he may have fallen in the creek before he died, Causey said.
At 9:03 a.m. Tuesday, a woman riding up a Lionshead lift called 911, saying she had spotted a man’s body in Gore Creek.
Vail police officers and detectives, as well as swift water/cold water rescue crews and other personnel from the Vail Fire Department worked quickly to recover Zang’s body from the creek. He was transported to the Eagle County Coroner’s office for further investigation. Zang could not be identified at the scene.
Zang was not dressed in ski gear. He wearing a black and dark gray zip-up fleece over a bright blue zip-up vest, black pants and brown leather lace-up boots.
A backpack was found in the creek nearby, but did not contain any identifying information. There was a copy of a Monday, Jan. 15, edition of the Vail Daily newspaper in the backpack, along with a small set of car keys and a first aid kit.
Causey said the case remains under investigation.
Causey also said a missing persons report filed Monday night was not Zang. That person had gotten separated from his group, and was quickly found and reunited.
Skiing and snowboard traffic was diverted away from Lionshead while Vail Police were conducting their initial investigation Tuesday morning. The lifts and runs were reopened before noon Wednsday, Vail Resorts said.
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