The Wolf Creek Ski area closed Monday to honor former Marine Scott Kay, ski patrol director at Wolf Creek who was killed Monday in an avalanche. Kay had worked at the ski area for 16 years, he was doing avalanche-control work when he became caught in a slide.
Scott Kay was a 41-year-old former Marine, a husband and the father of two boys, ages 6 and 8. The ski area issued a news release extolling the dangerous work he did to protect others.
A recorded phone message at the ski area said Wolf Creek was closed Monday “due to the fatality of a staff member.” The news release from the ski area said, “To honor him, Wolf Creek will remain closed for the remainder of Monday, Nov. 22, 2010, and, also to honor him, will reopen on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, at 8:30 a.m.”
Kay was skiing a routine avalanche-control route when he was caught in a slide, according to a news release from the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office. When the accident happened, he was working with professional ski patrollers who unsuccessfully attempted to free him and resuscitate him.
When Kay did not respond to radio contact, fellow ski patrollers responded to find him, the release said. They located him with avalanche beacons and probes. They dug him out of about 4 feet of snow. The death is the first avalanche-related fatality of the season in Colorado, according to the Avalanche Information Center in Boulder.
Snow and strong winds have created a “high” avalanche danger across much of the state’s high country, the Avalanche Center said Monday. A high rating means both natural and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Backcountry travelers should always be equipped with a shovel, probe pole and rescue beacon.