A ski patroller buried by an avalanche was on the northeast end of the Anthracite Range, known as Friendly Finish, in the Gunnison area. He was touring alone in the backcountry at the time.
GUNNISON COUNTY, Colo. — A solo backcountry skier died in an avalanche in the Gunnison area on Friday.
The man was skiing on the northeast end of the Anthracite Range when he was buried in an avalanche. The area is known locally as “friendly finish”.
The avalanche occurred on a northeast-facing slope and the avalanche risk was rated as “considerable,” or 3 out of 5. The slide took place at about 10,500 feet.
Victim Identified as Ski Patroller Jeff Schneider
Crested Butte Ski Patrol identified the ski patroller buried by an avalanche as Jeff Schneider in a Facebook post.
“Jeff was a bastion of kindness, knowledge, hard work, wit, and humor,” the post read. “A legendary Ski Patroller in Crested Butte, and Aspen before that, adventure had no better emissary. We wish you well on the last leg of the ultimate adventure. Rest peacefully, and may you make many, many turns, each one better than the last.”
Before descending, the victim spoke with two other skiers who were also traveling in the area. When the other two skiers finished their descent they found the victim’s snowmobile parked, and there was no sign of him. The skiers then snowmobiled to a position where they could see the slope that the victim planned to descend and saw a fresh avalanche. They then located the victim with a transceiver and recovered his body.
This was the first US avalanche-related death of the season. The only other incident this season was on Dec. 15, when a snowboarder was caught in an avalanche on Snodgrass Mountain and was injured.
Last season, there were six avalanche-related deaths, according to CAIC.
This was the first fatality of the season in the US and the second in North America, according to this list.