Yesterday, an avalanche near Vail ski area swept over four people. Three of them survived, but the fourth -- Tony Seibert, grandson of Vail founder Pete Seibert -- did not.
His loss has the mountain community in shock.
Look below to see photos and videos of Seibert, an extreme skier of considerable renown, plus images and details from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center about the act of nature that took his life.
Seibert's Facebook page includes pics like this one....
...and this one.... ...as well as a bit of personal history. He's listed as growing up in Vail, attending Battle Mountain High School (where he played soccer) and CU-Boulder, and working at Yellowbelly, a Vail restaurant. His employment prior to that is described as "ski bumming."
That's a very modest description of Seibert's skills on the boards, as witnessed by this video -- one of two he uploaded to YouTube (the other one is below).
In a fine remembrance of Seibert in the Vail Daily, Dave Cope, his soccer coach at Battle Mountain High, describes him as "this big, outsized personality. He was one of those kids who could take over a locker room, or a bus ride or a huddle. Coaches sometimes just stepped back because kids were going to follow him."
No surprise that Seibert and three friends chose yesterday to take advantage of glorious conditions in the Vail area. But the area where they went, East Vail Chutes, which is outside the boundaries of the ski area, is described in a Vail Resort development plan quoted by 7News as "an extremely steep, avalanche prone bowl that drains down to Interstate 70 or to East Vail."
Indeed, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center's preliminary report on the slide notes that another fatality had taken place "in this avalanche path" as recently as January 4.
CAIC images show the aftermath of the destruction.
Continue to see photos of the avalanche area, plus additional videos. " The avalanche occurred on an easterly aspect near treeline," notes the CAIC report. "'Sidecountry riders' exit ski areas to access backcountry terrain outside of operating ski area boundaries."
Also included on the CAIC page about the incident are these photos, shared here with their original CAIC captions:
After the revelation about Seibert's death, Chris Jarnot, chief operating officer of Vail Mountain, released the following statement:
"This is a shocking and terrible tragedy. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Tony's entire family. I want to acknowledge how integral the Seibert family is to the fabric of our community; their contributions to Vail date back to Vail founder Pete Seibert, Tony's grandfather. This is an incomprehensible loss and we will support the Seibert family and our community through this difficult time. Tony had recently starred in, Climb to Glory, a documentary that will forever be a tribute not only to the famed 10th Mountain Division and his family's legacy but to a wonderful albeit tragically too short life."
Our condolences to Seibert's friends, family and loved ones.
Look below to see a 7News piece about the avalanche, followed by another Seibert video.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa April: "Mark McCarron ID'd as victim in Vail avalanche, anger over marijuana mention."
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