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Robert Liberman, Heli-Ski Guide, Dead After Alaska Avalanche

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By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 13 (Reuters) - A back country ski guide from Colorado was killed on Tuesday in an avalanche while helicopter skiing in steep mountains overlooking the coastline near the southeast Alaska town of Haines, Alaska State Troopers said.

Robert Liberman, 35, of Telluride, was buried by the snow slide and died at the scene, the troopers said. He was the first person killed in an Alaska avalanche this winter, according to statistics kept by the Alaska Avalanche Information Center.

Liberman was among six people in a group that was helicopter skiing in an area known as Takhin Ridge, north of Haines. The region has become increasingly popular with back country skiers paying for helicopter services to reach undeveloped terrain.

Another member of his party survived after being pulled from the snow, and was transported to Seattle for medical treatment, the troopers said. The injured person was not identified.

Liberman was identified as a seasonal guide with Haines-based Alaska Heliskiing. In a profile posted on the company's website, he describes himself as a former University of Colorado ski racer and an all-around outdoors enthusiast.

Five people died in Alaska avalanches during the 2010-2011 winter and spring season, according to the Alaska Avalanche Information Center. One of those killed was a back country skier near Haines, while three were mountain climbers in Denali National Park. The fifth was a hiker on a mountain in the Anchorage area. (Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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