First off, RIP Jamie Pierre. He was a great skier and seemed to be a great guy. I saw him skiing at the Bird quite a lot and from the few times I spoke with him, he impressed me with genuineness.
That being said, the above link is a good write up about Jamie's death and the consequences of bad decision making in the backcountry. Even though a beacon/shovel/probe wouldn't have changed the outcome, it goes to show he was not thinking that day when he went up. Even on low danger day you should never ski in the backcountry without proper gear.
As they were hiking up their group set off a large avalanche. There were warning signs all around and he didn't pay attention. He definitely should not have been skiing the terrain that he skied that day. Avalanches do care if you are a legendary skier or not. If you make stupid decisions in the backcountry you will pay for it.
I see threads on here all the time from people that are coming out west on a vacation and want to head to the backcountry. They always ask, "Where should I go?" ;"Can I rent/borrow avy gear?"; "I just want to build a jump in Grizzly Gulch, I don't need a beacon do I?" I'm blown away that people think they can just go into the backcountry with avy gear and feel safe. First you need to know how to use the gear otherwise the only good a beacon does is helping to excavate the body. You don't only need to know how to use a beacon, you need to know how to use it well. Also, you may be confident using a beacon, but if the guys you go with are not, you will be the one that will die in a slide. You also need to understand avy prone terrain and avy prone snow. Terrain traps, rollovers, graupel, etc.
Sorry to puke my thoughts, but it needs to be said. The backcountry is much more dangerous than the ski community makes it out to be. Case and point, I was called today to go ski Wolverine Cirque (http://http://www.summitpost.org/wolverine-cirque/263058
) in the Alta backcountry tomorrow. We are supposed to get 18" or so tonight. I'm not going, It's a stupid idea right now. I told him that, I hope they don't die tomorrow.
Moral of the story, don't be stupid. No one wants you to die. End Rant.