Week in Review
East Vail Avalanche
Anthony Seibert, grandson of Vail founder Pete Seibert, was killed and three others were injured in an avalanche in the East Vail Chutes.
The slide happened shortly after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Jessie Mosher of the Sheriff’s Office.
The Vail Mountain Rescue Group responded to extract the three other skiers.
Mosher said the skiers who were with Seibert at the time of the avalanche sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The East Vail Chutes is an out-of-bounds backcountry skiing area accessible through a gate from the lift-served area of Vail Mountain.
Flu claims life of Edwards woman
An Eagle County woman has died and five other locals have been hospitalized as this year’s flu seaosn hits full stride.
The flu claimed the life of Veronica Moreno Castillo, 40, of Edwards on Dec. 28. She died at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs of H1N1 Type A influenza according to the Garfield County coroner’s office. Castillo was in good health before she contracted the flu, according to her friends.
Plane crash at Aspen airport
One person was killed and two were injured when a private jet crashed upon landing at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport on Sunday.
The accident occurred at approximately 12:23 p.m. After impact with the runway, the airplane was fully engulfed in flames and flipped over.
Three men from Mexico were on board the plane when it crashed. Co-pilot Sergio Emilio Carranza Brabeta 54, of Mexico was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two passengers, who are also pilots, were taken to Aspen Valley Hospital.
The crash was witnessed by several people including comedian Kevin Nealon and singer LeAnn Rimes, who both tweeted about the incident.
Stone Creek Chutes open
Beaver Creek Ski Patrol dropped the ropes and opened portions of Stone Creek Chutes on Wednesday, thanks to continued snowfall including the recent storm that blanketed the slopes this past weekend.
With the opening of Stone Creek Chutes, skiers and riders will have access to 1,731 acres, or 95 percent of the resort’s total terrain.
The designated “EX” or extreme in-bounds terrain in Stone Creek Chutes includes 180 acres of fresh powder, steep chutes and gladed runs for expert skiers and snowboarders. Beaver Creek Ski Patrol worked over the past few weeks to prepare the terrain and will open all of Upper Stone Creek Chutes and most of Lower Stone Creek Chutes. Skiers and snowboarders are reminded to obey all area signs and closures. Sections of Lower Stone Creek Chutes will remain closed while patrol conducts additional work in that area.
School Board President Jeanne McQueeney to run for county commissioner
Eagle County School District Board of Education President Jeanne McQueeney, a Democrat, is running for the District 3 commissioner seat, which represents Eagle’s Eby Creek Mesa neighborhood, Gypsum, Dotsero, El Jebel and Basalt.
Current commissioner Sara Fisher is term limited and the seat is up for grabs in the November election. McQueeney is the first county commissioner candidate to step forward for this fall’s election.
No weed, says Vail Resorts
Since the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, allowing the retail sale of marijuana in Colorado, Vail Resorts has noticed some obvious effects.
Long before pot sales were allowed to begin on Jan. 1, Vail Mountain employees noticed a rash of people openly lighting up on the slopes — including on the chairlifts and on the decks of restaurants. When employees approached smokers to stop, (as it is still illegal to publicly consume marijuana or possess it on U.S. Forest Service land), they were often met with less-than-polite responses and the insistence that marijuana was now legal.
It became such a problem that the mountain started training employees to deal with marijuana situations, said Vail Mountain Chief Operating Officer Chris Jarnot.
“Many employees weren’t sure what to do, so we made these cards to hand out to people to clarify that it’s not legal to smoke it on Vail Mountain, and we helped train staff to confront (offenders) and know the laws,” Jarnot said, adding that the resort is committed to keeping the place family-friendly.
The card is a simple bullet-point list that outlines Colorado pot law — namely, it’s illegal to consume it in public (and that includes in gondola cabins), adults older than 21 can possess up to 1 ounce, it is illegal to ski under the influence of pot and it is prohibited on national forest lands, where Vail Mountain is located.
Not guilty in felony menacing case
A jury took about an hour to acquit an Arkansas man charged with wielding a gun during a traffic altercation near Edwards.
A jury found Scott Hunter, of Little Rock, Ark., not guilty of felony menacing. Prosecutors said he threatened three people with a gun he was licensed to carry after two vehicles collided while traveling westbound on Interstate 70.
The jury took a little more than an hour to decide he did nothing of the sort.
Hunter and his wife were sightseeing and he captured the entire incident on the GoPro he had mounted on the dash of his SUV. Hunter even sent the GoPro video to the deputy who investigated the case, hoping prosecutors would see it and drop the case.
Burt Levin, Hunter’s attorney, repeatedly showed that GoPro video to the jury of eight men and five women.
His accusers, Charles Dieterle and Rebecca Thompson, claimed Hunter was cruising in the left lane and slammed on his brakes, causing their truck to rear-end Hunter’s SUV.
The video shows Hunter was in the left lane passing a car in the right lane. Dieterle came up from behind and moved into the left lane behind Hunter. Dieterle hit him from behind when they were traveling westbound on I-70 near Edwards. As Hunter pulled onto the shoulder, Dieterle rear ended him again as they came to a stop.
Hunter called 911. “He pushed me off the highway … he pushed me off the shoulder of the road. I feared for my life, my life and my wife’s,” Hunter told the dispatcher. He told the dispatcher he has a concealed carry permit and was carrying a gun. When police arrived he told them he had a gun and that he would leave it on the dash.
Hunter testified that he showed them the gun for a matter of seconds, then put it away. He said he’s 267 pounds and after he determined who he was dealing with, he didn’t think they would be much of a threat.
“There is no question whether he pulled a gun. There is a question about whether he feared for his safety and the safety of his wife,” Levin said.
Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival returns
The 14th annual Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival will return to Vail on today, Jan. 9, and continue through Saturday, Jan. 11.
The Big Beers festival at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa allows guests to attend educational sessions, rub elbows with some of craft brewing’s biggest rock stars and sample rare, bold and experimental beers from breweries from around the country.
Visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com to purchase tickets or to find more information. Commercial tasting tickets for Saturday are $60. Tickets are still available for several seminars as well as the commercial tasting event. Vouchers for a free ride on the ECO Transit bus system are available at any American National Bank or at Wine or Wort Home Brew Supply in Gypsum for the ride to the Vail Cascade. Vouchers for the ride home are available at the event.