Wolf Creek Ski Area closed after ski patrol director killed in avalanche

11:19 PM, Nov 22, 2010   |    comments
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9NEWS has learned the ski patrol director killed was 41-year-old Scott Kay of Pagosa Springs.

Kay was working on avalanche control when the accident happened.

"He took everything in that area so seriously and he wanted everyone to be safe," said Michael Ray, a family friend. "That's why he was out there doing what he was doing."

The Colorado State Patrol assisted with a helicopter landing after Kay was caught in an avalanche around 7:45 a.m. Monday. The Mineral County Sheriff's Office began investigating the fatality.

"They shut the entire area down and sent every available [Wolf Creek] employee with a shovel to try and go find him, but by that time it was too late," Ray said.

"Our Wolf Creek ski patrol director, while working to protect others, was caught in an avalanche which, to our great sadness, he did not survive. Wolf Creek's management and all its employees wish to express our deepest regrets at this loss of a wonderful man and close friend. Our sympathy and condolences go out to his wife and two children," the ski area said in a release.

Directly after Kay's death, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center released this statement: "Forecasters warn that weather conditions this holiday week could bring more deadly slides."

9NEWS contacted local businesses in Pagosa Springs. They said weather conditions Monday afternoon were fine.

EMS workers who responded to the accident at Wolf Creek said avalanches are normal this time of year, but this is the first fatality they've had to cover in years.

"My heart goes out to his wife and boys," Lauren Russell, another one of Kay's friends, said. "He was a good man, may his soul rest in peace."

A memorial fund has been set up at Saint Patrick's Episcopal Church in Pagosa Springs for Scott Kay and his family. For more information, call 970-731-5801.

The ski area plans to reopen at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

To check the latest avalanche warnings in Colorado, visit http://avalanche.state.co.us/.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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