Kitto was with another splitboarder when the avalanche was triggered in Beehive Basin, according to a press release from the US Forest Service.
Beehive Basin is in the Big Sky area of Montana, about 50 miles southwest of Bozeman and just northwest of the Wyoming border.
A splitboard is a snowboard that comes apart into two separate pieces.
When the avalanche struck, Kitto’s partner was able to grab onto a tree, but Kitto was carried downslope where he was hit by a tree and partially buried.
His wife, Lana Kitto, told CNN her husband was loved by his staff and had an “authentic connection with kids.”
“He was a servant to everyone and always put others first,” Kitto said. “He was a tireless hard worker and no task was to big.”
Kitto said her husband “lived to love” her and their daughters.
“His desire to live big, took him out in a big way. I will love and miss that constant adventuring with him by my side,” Kitto said.
Active avalanche season
The toll is on pace to being the highest ever. The deadliest years were 2008 and 2010 when 36 avalanche fatalities were recorded by the CAIC.
Nikki Champion, a forecaster at the Utah Avalanche Center, told CNN earlier this month that the deadly season could be the result of two reasons — people enjoying more time outdoors and a “really dangerous snowpack.”
This year’s avalanche season has likely been more active because of a “persistent weak layer” of snow, according to Champion.