The backcountry skier, who’s body was found on Tuesday, has been identified as 24-year-old Samuel Failla of New Jersey. Failla had been working as a (PSIAA) Level 1 certification snowboard instructor at Vail.
On Monday evening 911 dispatch received a call from a backcountry skier in need. The man, who claimed he had fallen off a trail was rescued by Vail Mountain Rescue Group and the Vail Ski Patrol.
The next morning, that same man called in a report that his backcountry partner, Samuel Failla, had failed to return. The man said that he’d assumed that Failla, who he hadn’t mentioned to his rescuers, had found his own way out of the backcountry.
Authorities haven’t released any additional information about the circumstances that led to Failla’s death. At this time we do not know if his death was linked to any of the avalanches reported in the area.
A GoFundMe page has been launched on Samuel Faill behalf. The introduction reveals Failla was actually working at Vail as an instructor again this season. It reads:
Our Chatham community has tragically lost 24-year-old Sam Failla to a skiing accident in Vail, Colorado on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. Sam graduated from Chatham High School in 2012 where he was a captain of the Chatham Cougar football team and an active member of the community.
After high school Sam continued his education at the University of South Carolina where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2016 and was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.
Sam’s passions were snowboarding, travel and children. He spent many years babysitting neighborhood children throughout his high school and college years. This past summer, he traveled to several destinations such as Singapore, Thailand and Greece, where he had the time if his life. In November, Sam returned to Vail for his second season as a snowboard instructor at Vail Resort in Colorado. He was a favorite with the kids in the ski school and was adored by his coworkers and liked by all who knew him.
Sam is survived by his parents John and Whitney Failla, sisters, Alexandria and Ellie Failla all of Chatham NJ.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the GoFundMe link to assist the Failla family with the final resting costs and the creation of a foundation for under privileged kids to play the sports they love.
Thank you and God speed….
Click to visit the Samuel Failla GoFundMe page.