The number of skiers who have died while skiing at Colorado resorts this year has tied the record in the state, with 16 ski-related deaths, but industry experts can’t pinpoint a reason for the spike. Colorado Ski Country USA, an ski industry professional association, insists that the record number of skier deaths this season is not related to the dramatic increase in Colorado skiers this year over last.
With the death of a 43-year-old Kansas man who struck a tree at a Keystone Ski Resort this past Sunday, the record set during the 2001-2002 season was matched. The ages of those killed range from 11 to 67 and includes beginners and experts. Half of the fatalities have occurred in Summit County.
“We haven’t found any common underlying threads between the 16 individuals and our thoughts are that unfortunately this is one year the numbers have been significantly higher,” Dr. Tom Hackett, an orthopedic surgeon at the Steadman Hawkins Center, has told local press.
Despite the high number of deaths, industry officials say skiing is still statistically safer than other activities, such as swimming and bike riding.
There have been at least 16 ski-related fatalities at resorts so far this season, this excludes the avalanche/out of bounds skier deaths:
Mar. 30 – 43-year old Michael Howe from Andover, KS died after hitting a tree on Frenchman trail at Keystone Resort.
Mar. 23 – 28-year-old Jennifer Ash from Indianapolis was pronounced brain-dead after suffering a vertebral artery dissection which led to a stroke after a snowboarding fall on March 16 at Keystone resort.
Mar. 1 – 39-year-old Gabrielle Hutter from Centennial died after hitting a tree at Winter Park Resort.
Feb. 27 – 46-year-old John Bosman of Orlando, FL died from head injuries at Eldora Mountain Resort.
Feb. 19 — 13-year-old Kenneth Joyce of Glastonbury, CN died after hitting a tree on Diamondback trail at Keystone Ski Resort.
Feb. 15 — 68-year-old Bob Guthrie from Silverthorne died after hitting his head in a fall at Arapahoe Basin on Feb. 11.
Feb. 13 — 33-year-old Brian Irvin, a Southwest Airlines pilot from Mesa, AZ hit some trees and died at Telluride Ski Resort.
Feb. 12 — 67-year-old John Dobbie from Downers Grove, IL died from a head injury suffered on Feb. 1 at Crested Butte.
Feb. 6 — 61-year-old retired ABC newsman, John McWethy of Boulder, was killed in a skiing accident at Keystone.
Jan. 31 — 40-year-old Michael Gruber from Dillon died from a head injury suffered the day before at Arapahoe Basin.
Jan. 25 — 22-year-old Jared Daniel, a snowboarder from Auburn, MA suffocated after falling head first into a tree well at Steamboat Ski Area.
Jan. 20 — 33-year-old James McLean a doctor from Kansas died in a snowboard accident at the Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Jan. 15 — 45-year-old Mark Joseph Stout from Nockamixon Township, PA died after falling into a tree well at Steamboat.
Jan. 6 — 19-year-old Logan Jameson of Durango hit his head and suffocated after skiing off a headwall at Durango Mountain Resort.
Jan. 3 — 11-year-old Benjamin Trichler from Great Britain died after skiing into a tree at Breckenridge.
Dec 28 — 15-year-old Mitchell Maltsberger from Oolagah, OK died after hitting a tree on an intermediate trail at Wolf Creek.