Avalanche victim’s family thanks the Vail Valley community | VailDaily.com

Avalanche victim’s family thanks the Vail Valley community

A celebration of Taft Conlin's life is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday at the Edwards Interfaith Chapel.

VAIL, Colorado – The family of a local teen killed in an avalanche said thank you Tuesday for the community’s support and has set up a website for well-wishers to visit.

A memorial fund will also be set up soon, the family said.

Taft Conlin, 13, was killed Sunday afternoon when an avalanche swept over him away on Vail Mountain’s Prima Cornice. Conlin was one of at least five local teens skiing the expert terrain. Two others were also caught in the slide, but escaped and skied down to get help.

“We are absolutely devastated by our loss and so incredibly touched and deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and support coming from the community in the Valley,” the Conlin family said in a statement.

“We are focused on Louise and Steve and Maddi (Taft’s mother, father and sister),” the family said. “Our thoughts are also with the four other children involved in this incident and their families.

“The immediate family is still discussing our thoughts for memorial contributions that will reflect Taft and his community. We will be in communication when we come to a decision.”

Conlin was a seventh-grader at Vail Mountain School, where he attended since he was in kindergarten.

A Facebook post is flying from friend to friend, encouraging people to honor Conlin and his family by wearing blue jeans and a pink shirt to school.

“Also write on the back of your hand Taft’s name in Sharpie in remembrance of him. This can be for both boys and girls!” the Facebook post says.

Several Vail Mountain School students did exactly that Tuesday.

“He was a strong student and a talented athlete who enjoyed almost every sport,” Peter Abuisi, Vail Mountain School’s Head of School, said Monday in a written statement. “He was a good friend to his schoolmates and they held him in high regard. Taft was a vibrant member of our student body and we will remember him fondly for years to come.”

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported three skiers were caught in the avalanche.

“The avalanche was a soft slab … medium sized relative to the path, large enough to bury and kill a person, and ran on old snow,” said the CAIC report.

The crown averaged about 18 inches deep, and the avalanche was about 300 feet wide and ran 400 vertical feet. The slope’s steepness was about 46 degrees, the CAIC report said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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