Avalanche claims life of Crested Butte legend

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Jeff "Schnoid" Schneider caught in Anthracites slide

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  • The route known as Friendly Finish on the east end of the Anthracites. The crown of the avalanche can be seen above the treed area in the photo. Photo by CBAC.
    The route known as Friendly Finish on the east end of the Anthracites. The crown of the avalanche can be seen above the treed area in the photo. Photo by CBAC.

Longtime ski patroller and prolific backcountry skier Jeff Schneider died in an avalanche near Kebler Pass on Friday, Dec. 18. 

Schneider was skiing alone when he was caught in a large slab avalanche while descending a run known as “Friendly Finish” in the Anthracites, according to the Crested Butte Avalanche Center.

The avalanche center reported Friday that preliminary observations suggested that the slab avalanche was several feet thick, likely breaking on a layer of old, faceted snow that was buried about a week ago.  

Before descending Schneider spoke with a group of two skiers who were also traveling in the area. When the two skiers completed their descent and returned to their parked snowmobile they found Schneider's snowmobile parked without any sign of him. They snowmobiled to a place where they could see the slope he told them he was planning to descend and saw a fresh avalanche. They located the Schneider with a transceiver search and extricated him from the debris. Schneider did not survive the avalanche.

The Crested Butte Avalanche Center and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center are investigating the event today, Saturday, Dec. 19 and will provide more detailed reports soon.

Schneider worked as a Crested Butte ski patroller for 35 years and was a Mountain Express bus driver.

Schneider's death was the second major avalanche accident near Crested Butte in the past week. On Dec. 15 Ian Schaul of Crested Butte suffered serious leg injuries in an avalanche while splitboarding on the northeast aspect of Snodgrass Mountain.