San Rafael Autodesk Staffer Killed in Wyoming Avalanche

Michael Kazanjy, 29, was skiing when he was killed at a Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Thursday.

By Sasha Lekach

Bay City News Service


A man who worked in San Rafael for part of this year was killed in an avalanche while skiing just outside a Jackson, Wyo., resort on Thursday, the Teton County undersheriff said Friday.

Michael Kazanjy, 29, was a senior financial analyst at Autodesk who worked at the company's San Rafael from June until November according to his LinkedIn page. He split his time between San Francisco and Jackson.


Kazanjy was skiing at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with a group of friends around 12:55 p.m. when the group went beyond resort limits to a backcountry area known as "Pucker Face Bowl," Undersheriff Robert Gilliam said.

The sheriff's office was notified about a skier-caused avalanche and responded to the area, where resort ski patrol and ski guides were searching for a victim, Gilliam said.

It appears Kazanjy was the first in the group of five skiers and snowboarders to head down the slope and triggered the avalanche.

Kazanjy was found buried in the snow around 1:35 p.m.

His friends and others in the area helped with the rescue. A doctor who was in the area attempted to revive Kazanjy but he was pronounced dead, Gilliam said.

Search and rescue personnel flew in by helicopter and brought Kazanjy to the coroner's office.

His family was notified and Friday family members had arrived in Jackson from the Bay Area, Gilliam said.

Gilliam said before the avalanche, the group had taken the ski tram to the top of the mountain and went past a gate with a "number of warning signs" to reach the backcountry terrain, a practice that he said is "pretty typical."

Since his death, many friends and family have taken to social media to remember Kazanjy as an adventurous, fun-loving man who was an avid skier.

One poster who said she is his cousin wrote on Kazanjy's Facebook page late Thursday, "My cousin Mikey was an amazing human being. He did more in his 29 years then most people do in their life times. He will be incredibly missed."

Another friend posted, "I will never forget your bouncy and positive outlook on life. We will all miss you. You lived and loved hard."

According to his online profile, he attended University of California at Berkeley, where he studied economics.


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