A professional ski patrolman at [R419R, Squaw Valley USA] in California died Tuesday morning before the slopes opened for skiers and riders, according to news reports. He was, ironically, checking the slopes for hazards.

Andrew Entin, 41, was working on controlling potential avalanche areas at 8 a.m. Part of of the slope broke away. He was caught in the slide and was partially buried under the snow.

Another ski patrolman dug Eatin out and the injured patrolman was taken first to a hospital in nearby Truckee, and then to Regional Medical Center in Reno. He was pronounced dead there.

Be careful out there, particularly this time of the year. A Monday storm dropped nearly four feet of new snow at Squaw Valley.

A blogger calling himself "sfdonner" put the tragedy into some perspective at sfgate.com:  "They (patrollers) work for peanuts... in a very hazardous job to allow many of us to enjoy a fantastic sport.... These folks are the real deal and some of the best in the world at what they do."