The past week has been a tragic one for North American skiers, with an incredible five deaths occurring in the past seven days. Four of the deaths resulted when skiers collided into trees. Without autopsy results, it is not possible to know whether a helmet would have saved any of the victims, but is known that at least two of the skiers were without helmets.
Feb. 14, 2009 A 33-year-old skier was killed Saturday when he skied off of a groomed trail at Silver Mountain Resort, Idaho and crashed into a tree. Justin Cottrell was identified by the Shoshone County coroner. Cottrell, a fifth-grade schoolteacher from Yakima, reportedly lost control while skiing on Junction, an intermediate-level run at Silver Mountain just before 10 a.m. Saturday. Silver Mountain general manager Jeff Colburn confirmed Monday that Cottrell was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Silver Mountain Ski Patrol members responded to the scene of the crash immediately unfortunately because of poor weather conditions a medical helicopter was unable to transport Cottrell from the mountain.
Feb. 16, 2009 A California 19-year-old died in a snowboarding accident just weeks after realizing her lifelong dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. Aline Christina Martins was snowboarding with her older brother at the Dodge Ridge ski resort in Pinecrest, California when the two became separated on the trails. A search and rescue team found her a few hours later in a snow pocket between trees where she apparently suffocated in fresh powder. Martins was born in Brazil, the second of three children to Medeiros and Armelio Martins, who moved the family to California when Aline was 3.
Feb. 17, 2009 An Andover man has died as a result of a skiing accident at Tenney Mountain in Plymouth, N.H. Alan Champagne, 57, was skiing with his family on Tuesday when he went into the woods, clipped a rock that sent him head over heels and into a tree. A skier on the chairlift witnessed the accident and yelled for help.
Feb. 18, 2009 Boo Sung (James) Moon, a Korean exchange student, was on an annual ski trip with a group of Grade 7 and 8 students at Snow Valley Ski Resort in Simcoe County, Canada when he lost control while downhill skiing, left the groomed trail and slammed into a tree at about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, police and school board sources said. James, described as an inexperienced skier, did not wear a helmet and was unconscious when he was found, Ontario Provincial Police said. He was assisted by ski patrollers from the resort and was rushed to Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie with serious injuries. However, many parents said they didn’t even notice when they signed their child’s permission form that there was an option to rent a helmet for an extra $8 per day. Several said they just assumed helmets would be mandatory.
Feb. 18, 2009 A 49-year-old Lopez man died while skiing with his sons at the Mount Baker Ski Area, Washington . The man was in a steep ski area called “The Rat Trap” and was scouting the terrain when he fell 50 feet into a tree. The man’s 14-year-old and 10-year-old sons managed to find help. The man died at the scene.