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Tony Seibert, the 24-year-old grandson of late Vail founder Pete Seibert, died in an avalanche while skiing the East Vail Chutes just outside the Vail ski area boundary on Tuesday.
Three other snow riders with Seibert at the time of his death sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were treated and released, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis identified Seibert’s body, adding that the cause and manner of his death will be determined by an autopsy. Seibert was a resident of both Boulder and Vail.
The slide was reported to the Vail Public Safety Communications Center at about 11:30 a.m., and emergency responders immediately made their way to the popular side-country ski area accessed off the top of Vail Mountain’s Outer Mongolia Bowl.
Seibert was featured in last year’s Warren Miller film “Flow State” and a documentary on the 10th Mountain Division called “Climb to Glory: Legacy of the Ski Troopers,” which was set to premier Thursday at the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts. The premier of Climb to Glory is now being rescheduled.
Pete Seibert trained and fought with the famed ski troopers during World War II in Italy, where he was badly wounded. He recovered and later teamed up with local rancher and prospector Earl Eaton to discover the terrain that would later become Vail Mountain. Seibert turned Vail into a world-class ski resort before leaving the company in the mid-1970s. He would later return to Vail Associates in the 1980s, raising his family in the Vail Valley.
“This is a shocking and terrible tragedy. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Tony’s entire family,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and COO of Vail Mountain. “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.”
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Mountain Rescue Group, Vail Ski Patrol, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Flight for Life, Breckenridge Ski Patrol K9 Avalanche Team, pilots from the High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site and the Vail Police Department responded to the slide.
“The avalanche occurred in the backcountry southeast of Vail Ski Area,” according to a preliminary report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). “The avalanche occurred on an easterly aspect near treeline. ‘Side-country riders’ exit ski areas to access back-country terrain outside of operating ski area boundaries. An avalanche fatality occurred in the this avalanche path on January 4, 2008.”
The CAIC rated the avalanche danger in the Vail, Summit County area as “considerable” on Tuesday.
On Wednesday Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Executive Director Aldo Radamus sent out the following email message:
531 East Lionshead Circle, Suite 11
Vail, CO 81657
PO Box 2725
Vail, CO 81658
In lieu of flowers and food, the Tony Seibert Memorial Fund has been set up and is accepting donations at the Vail branch of First Bank (970-476-5686).