Skier Dies in Avalanche Near Crested Butte

A backcountry skier lost his life after being caught in an avalanche near Crested Butte, Colorado, on Sunday. The victim was identified as Jeff Schneider, a local resident and avid skier.

Avalanche Occurred in the Playground Area

The avalanche happened in an area known as the Playground, east of Ohio Peak, in the Anthracite Range. According to the Crested Butte Avalanche Center (CBAC), the avalanche was a large persistent slab that released on a northeast-facing slope at around 11,200 feet. The slide ran for about 1,000 feet and was 200 feet wide at the toe.

Schneider was skiing with three other partners when the avalanche occurred. He was the second skier to descend the slope and triggered the avalanche from above. He was carried and buried by the snow, while his partners managed to avoid the slide.

Rescue Efforts Were Unsuccessful

Schneider’s partners quickly located him using avalanche transceivers and dug him out of the debris. They performed CPR and called for help, but Schneider did not survive his injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Gunnison County Coroner.

Skier Dies in Avalanche Near Crested Butte

A helicopter from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control transported Schneider’s body to the Crested Butte airport, where he was met by his family and friends. The CBAC and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) also responded to the incident and conducted an investigation.

Victim Was a Well-Known Backcountry Skier

Schneider was a well-known figure in the Crested Butte backcountry community. He had been skiing in the area for over 20 years and had extensive experience and knowledge of the terrain. He was also a volunteer for the CBAC and helped with avalanche education and outreach.

Schneider was described by his friends as a passionate, adventurous, and generous person who loved skiing and sharing his joy with others. He was also a devoted husband and father of two young children.

Avalanche Danger Remains High in the Region

The avalanche that killed Schneider was one of several fatal slides that have occurred in the Rocky Mountains this winter. Experts say that a weak snowpack, caused by a dry start to the season, has created unstable and dangerous conditions across much of the West.

The CAIC has issued an avalanche warning for several zones in Colorado, including the Gunnison zone, where Crested Butte is located. The warning advises backcountry travelers to avoid avalanche terrain and to check the avalanche forecast before heading out.

The CAIC also urges skiers and snowmobilers to carry avalanche rescue equipment, such as transceivers, probes, and shovels, and to know how to use them. Additionally, the CAIC recommends traveling with partners and maintaining communication and visual contact at all times.

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