A Vail Valley man and lifelong local of the Eagle and Summit Counties in Colorado died on Friday night while skiing up to the Polar Star Inn to celebrate his 21st birthday with friends, reports Vail Daily.
Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said the cause of Paul Cuthbertson’s death is pending an autopsy. Cuthbertson left for the Polar Star Inn, a popular backcountry lodge that is part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, late Friday afternoon. At some point it appears he deviated from the usual route.
The weather was snowy and windy that evening, especially at 11,000 feet in the area where Cuthbertson was skiing. The Polar Star Inn is just below timberline, at 11,040 feet, on the west side of New York Mountain.
When he did not show up Friday night, his friends went looking for him at first light Saturday morning, with Vail Mountain Rescue and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office quickly joining the search.
Cuthbertson was an accomplished ski racer and a 2016 graduate of Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy.
“Paul was a close friend of the entire VSSA and Ski Club Vail communities and will be profoundly missed,” the VSSA wrote.