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Backcountry Skier Becomes 12th Avalanche Fatality In Colorado This Year

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported the states 12th avalanche death on March 22. They say a skier was caught and killed in the Sanctuary Chute, south of Beaver Creek Resort in Edwards.

The CAIC identified the skier as 37-year-old Gary Smith. They say he was a beloved and avid skier who was also once a ski patrolman.

Beaver Creek avalanche
A stock photo of Sanctuary Chute (credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

Another skier who was with Smith was able to find him, dig him out and call for help.

"Our sincere condolences to the victim's friends and family of this tragic accident," the CAIC said.

Officials say the avalanche happened below treeline, at around 10,500 feet, in a steep northwest-facing slope.

Conditions in this area have been rated considerable throughout the season, CAIC says.

The Eagle County Sheriff's Office, Vail Mountain Rescue Group, Beaver Creek Ski Patrol, Eagle County Coroner's Office, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Strawberry Park Medical, and the Vail Public Safety Communication Center responded to this incident.

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