Extreme skier Jamie Pierre died in Utah Sunday afternoon when he triggered an avalanche near Snowbird Shi Resort and was swept "hundreds of feet" through rocky terrain. According to news reports, Pierre, 38, was snowboarding out of bounds in the South Chute area, a section of backcountry at Snowbird, after having traversed from nearby Alta Ski Area. Both mountains plan to open to the public within the next several weeks but have not yet begun avalanche control for the season. On Sunday, the Utah Avalanche Center warned that a recent snowfall on top of a degraded early season base posed significant avalanche risk. "Make no doubt," the Center wrote early yesterday, "conditions are ripe for someone to get caught in an avalanche." At least 12 slides were record in Utah on Sunday. Pierre, who lived in Montana, frequently appeared in major ski films from Warren Miller, Teton Gravity Research, and Matchstick Productions. He set a world record for biggest cliff jump in 2006 when he skied off a 255-foot face at Wyoming's Grand Targee. He is the first avalanche fatality in the United States this season.
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