Grandson of Vail resort co-founder killed in Colorado avalanche
VAIL, Colo. (CNN) -- The grandson of one of the Vail ski mecca's co-founders died Tuesday in an avalanche that also trapped -- temporarily -- three others, Eagle County authorities said.
Anthony "Tony" Seibert, 24, died in backcounty outside the ski boundaries of Vail Mountain -- the Colorado resort area that his grandfather, Peter Seibert Sr., co-founded -- according to officials in Eagle County.
"I loved every moment I spent around Tony and so did his friends and family," a person said in an online tribute shortly after his death. "He was always so uplifting and caring for others."
The three others also trapped in the snow were rescued without major injuries. In fact, none of them had to be transported to a hospital, instead leaving the area on their own, Vail Valley Medical Center spokeswoman Lindsay Hogan said.
The incident occurred in the East Vail Chutes, roughly 90 miles west of Denver, with authorities first being alerted around 11:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. ET), according to the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.
According to the Vail resort's master development plan, "The East Vail Chutes is an extremely steep, avalanche-prone bowl that drains down to Interstate 70 or to East Vail."
The avalanche occurred near the tree line "in backcountry wilderness where they do not have avalanche control," explained Ethan Greene of the state-run Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
"This (avalanche) was most likely triggered by the people who got caught in it," Greene said.
On a scale of 1 (least dangerous) to 5, the prospective avalanche rating around Vail was a 3 -- the rate around which most incidents like this happen, explained Greene, especially if people get fooled by otherwise nice conditions.
"Today was apparently a beautiful day up in Vail," Greene added, "and therefore would be an appealing day to be out in the backcountry."
Seibert is the second person to die in an avalanche this season in Colorado. The other incident happened on Dec. 31, 2013, on Parkview Mountain, west of Willow Creek Pass.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center noted there have been at least five such fatalities nationwide, including a snowmobiler killed on New Year's Day in Big Sky, Montana.
Tony Seibert's grandfather was a legend in skiing, business and state circles -- as evidenced by his inductions into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard and Colorado Business halls of fame, among many other honors.
A soldier injured multiple times during World War II while with the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, the Sharon, Mass., native moved to Colorado after the war, working at Aspen and making the 1950 U.S. ski team. After studies in resort management in France and Switzerland, he and fellow ski buff Earl Eaton scaled the top of the then-unnamed mountain that would become Vail in 1957 and opened it up as a ski area five years later.
Peter Seibert Sr. served as the first president of Vail Associates and maintained a leading role for several decades, during which time Vail became one of America's biggest and most renowned ski resorts. He died in July 2002 at the age of 77.