Vail skier dies in avalanche
January 22, 2012
VAIL, Colorado – A 13-year-old skier died Sunday after being caught in an avalanche on Vail Mountain, authorities said.
The skier was identified as Taft Conlin, of Eagle, said Kara Bettis, Eagle County coroner.
Vail Mountain said the avalanche occurred on a “closed section” of Prima Cornice, which is a double-black-diamond run, but that the incident remains under investigation.
The call came in to Vail Ski Patrol at around 1:40 p.m, and Ski Patrol responded immediately, according to a statement from Vail Mountain.
“Ski Patrol provided advanced life support and transported the patient to an awaiting ambulance,” the statement said. “He was then transported to the Vail Valley Medical Center. The incident is under investigation.
Dave Conlin, uncle of Taft Conlin, said the family asks for privacy at this time.
“All we ask is that the Vail community share their concerns and love for the Conlin and Ingalls families in this time of tragedy,” he said.
Taft’s mother is Louise Ingalls.
“Vail Mountain, the Vail Ski Patrol and the Vail Resorts family extend their deepest sympathy and support to the family and friends of the skier,” Vail Mountain’s statement said.
Vail Mountain reported 9 inches of new snow as of 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
A backcountry avalanche warning was in effect for the Summit-Vail area Sunday, meaning “natural and human triggered avalanches are very likely.”
“The weak snowpack will not be able to handle this new load,” Sunday’s report for the area by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. “Human and naturally triggered avalanches are very likely today. You will able to trigger avalanches from remote distances and from low-angle or even flat terrain. You need to use extra caution near or below any slope approaching 30 degrees.”
Avalanche danger remains high across Colorado’s mountains.
Snowmass Village resident Keith Ames, 43, was killed Wednesday during an avalanche while skiing on Burnt Mountain outside the Snowmass ski area.
There have been several avalanche fatalities outside of Vail’s boundaries in recent years.
Jesse Brigham, 27, of Vail, died in January 2008 in a slide in the East Vail backcountry area. Matthew Gustafson, 33, also of Vail, died in an avalanche eight days later, also in the East Vail area.
Jasper “Jaz” McGrath, 19, died in January 2010 in an avalanche in an out-of-bounds area near Blue Sky Basin.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.