University of Northern Colorado president’s son dies in avalanche while skiing with father

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University of Northern Colorado president's son dies in avalanche while skiing with father

The son of the University of Northern Colorado president was killed in an avalanche while backcountry skiing with his father on New Year’s Eve.

UNC President Andy Feinstein and his 22-year-old son, Nick Feinstein, both experienced outdoorsmen, were caught in an avalanche in an area known as The Numbers near the Breckenridge Ski Resort on Colorado.

According to the Summit County Rescue Group, the avalanche descended at around 1 p.m. Saturday, fully burying Nick and partially burying his dad, who managed to dig himself out.

Andy Feinstein was able to ski to an area with cell phone reception and call 911.

Nick Feinstein, 22, left, and his father, University of Northern Colorado President Andy Feinstein, right, were backcountry skiing when an avalanche buried them both.
Nick Feinstein, 22, left, and his father, University of Northern Colorado President Andy Feinstein, right, were backcountry skiing when an avalanche buried them both.
Feinstein family via Greeley Tribune

Nearly two dozen rescuers accompanied by canines descended on the area to search for Nick, and a dog team recovered his body at around 3:11 p.m.

Speaking to the Greeley Tribune Monday, Andy Feinstein vividly described the moment the avalanche came down without warning.

“One minute I was skiing and enjoying the powder, and the next minute I was riding what looked like a violent wave of whitewash,” he recalled.

The UNC president also recounted how he used his fingertips to dig a window in the snow covering his head.

While his dad was able to dig himself out and call for help, Nick died before a dog team found him under the snow.
While his dad was able to dig himself out and call for help, Nick died before a dog team found him under the snow.
Feinstein family via Greeley Tribune

Andy and his wife, Kerry, said that their son was an avid outdoorsman and seasoned skier who had been out on the slopes since the age of five.

Nick was a student at Penn State University and was set to graduate in the spring. He already had a job in the finance industry lined up in Denver and was excited to move back to Colorado to pursue his passions of skiing and mountain-climbing, according to his family.

The 22-year-old is survived by his parents and sister, Rachel, who described Nick to the paper as “the best big brother and role model.”

Nick, third from left, comes from a family of avid outdoorsmen and had been skiing since he was five years old.
Nick, third from left, comes from a family of avid outdoorsmen and had been skiing since he was five years old.
andy.feinstein.71/Facebook

Also on Saturday, an avalanche in Montana killed a snowmobiler who was swept 600 vertical feet after his vehicle trigged a large slide.

The two back-to-back accidents marked the second and third avalanche fatalities this winter, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which tracks the deaths nationally.

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