Vail Daily column: So much more than a name
Ryan Summerlin January 13, 2014
It’s the name that means so much.
The name of the victim in last Tuesday’s devastating avalanche could have been completely anonymous, some young man who had just moved here from Kansas, enjoying his first season in the mountains.
But it was not.
It was, and still is, Seibert.
And that is why those outside of our valley paid attention. National news headlines covered the story before dinnertime, with network news channels doing the same. The 9News crew did its best that evening, but still couldn’t get the name correct (It’s Sigh-Bert, people, not See-Bert).
By Wednesday morning, it was on “Good Morning America,” which had covered the now “famous” video a few weeks ago from another avalanche in the same area. No one would have cared if not for the video.
“Oh, the irony,” the talking heads said for the nation to hear.
If only they truly understood.
Yes, the name Seibert is heavy with symbolism in this region, forever invoking images of a wild and untamed valley, full of possibilities and the person who tamed it. None of us would be here if not for man behind the name.
But grandson Tony Seibert was much more than that; much more than just a last name that will forever sit atop the pyramid of ultra-success known as Vail.
He was a 24-year-old young man with all the personal potential in the world and with a smile constantly confirming that he was indeed one of the happiest people on earth.
There’s no one to blame.
This is nobody’s fault.
It was an accident, plain and simple.
A tragic accident.
Yes, the warning signs were there.
Risks were taken.
But the definition of the word “risks” describes the Tony “Pardee” that so many know and love. To say Tony passed while doing what he loved is an extreme understatement. Describing Tony Seibert as a “pretty good skier” is like labeling Peyton Manning a “pretty good quarterback.”
The man could ski and was easily one of the best all-around skiers in the Rockies, as you can see for yourself when you watch “Climb to Glory,” the new documentary where Tony, along with co-star Chris Anthony (not exactly a couch-potato skier himself) explores his grandfather’s famed 10th Mountain Division.
But while a beautiful life is mourned and celebrated, lessons for those remaining must be learned — again.
Mother Nature will never stop proving she’s in charge, and we can only hope and strive for as parents and as a community that the lessons are no longer learned through heart-breaking experience, but with caution gleaned through a never-ending flow of information.
It’s all we can hope for at this point.
So to his dad, Pete Jr., and mom, Teri, along with his brother, Petey, and sisters, Anna and Lizzie, never forget that Vail has your back.
And always will.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a weekly column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.