On Tuesday Tony Seibert, 24, along with three friends were caught in an avalanche while skiing the Vail mountain region known as the East Vail Chutes.
Tony was the former top ranked USSA alpine racer who turned his focus to freeskiing when he was 15, and consistently placed high in competitions for professional halfpipe and big mountain competitions.
He also starred in Warren Miller Entertainment films, including “Climb to Glory,” a tribute to the fabled 10th Mountain Division ski troopers.
Sadly his experience and familiarity with the Vail Mountain resort area were not enough to sustain him against a massive wall of snow that came down and covered him and his friends.
The chutes area where Seibert died was designated “experienced skiers only” as they are an extremely steep, avalanche prone bowl that drains down to “Interstate 70 or to East Vail”,’ ABC 7 reported.
This region around Vail is said to be treacherous, with several deaths in the east over the past two decades, according to the Denver Post.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center had reported the region was at ‘considerable risk’ earlier in the day, warning skiers that ‘cautious route finding’ was essential.
The avalanche, which began along a tree ridge near the mountain pass his grandfather founded – is said to have help getting started by high winds and heavy snow.
Seibert was the eighth person since 1986 to die in avalanches at or near the East Vail Chutes. The three friends he was with survived, said the Denver Post.
“In the backcountry, we recognize the wildness of these areas and a lot of people love and cherish them for fairly wild recreation activities, so we look for a balance,” said Jim Bedwell, Forest Service director of recreation lands for the Rocky Mountain region.
In a statement, Chris Jarnot, Vail Mountain’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, called the death “a shocking and terrible tragedy.”
Jarnot added: “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. … This is an incomprehensible loss and we will support the Seibert family and our community through this difficult time.”
A tribute to Tony Seibert can be viewed at Vimeo.
Image via Vimeo