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Backcountry skier killed in avalanche near Beaver Creek

Posted at 6:48 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 08:30:49-04

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — A backcountry skier was killed in an avalanche near Beaver Creek ski resort Monday.

The Eagle County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 37-year-old Gary Smith, who officials said was avid skier with experience as a former ski patrolman.

The avalanche occurred in a chute near the bottom of the Larkspur area known as the Sanctuary Chute. Smith got trapped in a slide and did not survive the incident.

Officials said Smith was with a second skier, who was able to locate and dig his companion out of the slide and call for help.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the backcountry avalanche forecast in Eagle County has consistently been rated as considerable this season.

Smith's death is the 12th avalanche-related death in Colorado this season.