Pro skier Matthew “Jamie” Pierre died Sunday afternoon after triggering an avalanche while snowboarding at the unopened Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, according to multiple media reports.
It marked the first fatality of the North American 2011-12 winter season.
While an expert skier who had appeared in several films, neither Pierre nor his friend had any formal avalanche training, nor were they carrying any rescue gear, according to a report by the Utah Avalanche Center based on an interview with the survivor.
Pierre was snowboarding with a friend in the South Chute of the Gad Valley when an avalanche swept him hundreds of feet through steep rock terrain and off a small cliff, where rescuers found his body partially buried. His friend was not injured.
The area the two were snowboarding is considered inbounds when the resort is open, but when it is closed no avalanche prevention work is done. The area is at 10,300 feet, according to a report by the Utah Avalanche Center.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Pierre appeared in multiple films by Warren Miller and set a world record for cliff jumping in 2006 by dropping 245 vertical feet at Wyoming’s Grand Targhee Resort.