A Colorado man was unfortunately caught in an avalanche on Monday, March 22nd, and tragically passed away because of it.

The man, 37-year-old Gary Allen Smith, was what's known as a backcountry skier and spent a lot of time in the lesser-known areas of various ski resorts, including Beaver Creek which is close to where he tragically passed away.

The incident occurred near the Beaver Creek ski resort in an area known as the Sanctuary Chute which is located close to the bottom of the Larkspur Bowl. The chute sits at roughly 10,500 feet above sea level near the Lime Creek drainage.

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Smith's infatuation with backcountry skiing began when he lived in Taos, New Mexico, an infatuation that he brought with him when he moved to Colorado.

At the time of the incident that took Smith's life, he was skiing with a friend who was able to locate Smith following the avalanche but unfortunately, Smith had already lost his life at that point.

This ski season has been especially deadly as far as avalanche incidents, as this was the 12th avalanche-related death in Colorado and the 35th in the United States. The last avalanche season that saw so many deaths in Colorado was back in 1992-1993.

Smith also worked at a backcountry shop and served as a gear editor at wildsnow.com, giving him a reputation as a well-known backcountry enthusiast.

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Mountain Rescue Group, Beaver Creek Ski Patrol, Eagle County Coroner’s Office, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Strawberry Park Medical, and the Vail Public Safety Communication Center worked collaboratively on this incident.


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