East Vail Chutes. File photo Jan. 4, 2008
The avalanche happened just before noon on the East Vail Chutes, just outside of the Vail ski area, according to the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies say Jesse Brigham, an employee originally from Boston, was skiing with two other people when the snow slide happened. They were all wearing avalanche beacons.
The other skiers were able to find Brigham and performed CPR while waiting for Vail Resorts Ski Patrol to arrive.
Witnesses told deputies Brigham was buried under 6 feet of snow for 10 to 20 minutes.
He was pronounced dead shortly after rescue crews arrived.
The Eagle County Coroner's Office says Brigham died from asphyxiation.
The other two skiers were not injured.
"All three skiers, very experienced. They did everything right. They had their avalanche beacons. Unfortunately, in some cases, as in this one, that was not enough," said Shannon Cordingly with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office. "You never know what you're getting into until you're actually out there."
Brigham worked at the Arrabelle, a new luxury hotel at Vail Square. It is owned by RockResorts, a subsidiary of Vail Resorts.
The company issued a statement saying, "The RockResorts family extends its deepest sympathies and thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Jesse Brigham."
Avalanche danger is "considerable" in many areas of the high country because of fresh snow and high winds.
Friday's avalanche was the third this week in Colorado's high country. No one was killed in the first two.
Friday's fatality was also the second death in Colorado caused by an avalanche this season. The first death in Colorado this winter happened in the Hot Dog Bowl in Larimer County. On December 2, an avalanche buried a skier under 6 feet of snow. His friends pulled him out alive, but he died eight days later.
"This could happen to anyone. Whenever you're in the backcountry, whether it be skiing or snowmobiling, you always have to worry about the dangers of an avalanche," said Cordingly. "It's just a very sad story."
Friday's death was the 14th avalanche death this season in the nation.
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