A 20-year-old snowboarder was ticketed Sunday afternoon after allegedly running into a 39-year-old telemark skier and breaking her leg.
Darren Howard of Steamboat Springs was cited for third-degree assault and failing to follow the Colorado Skier Safety Act by not remaining at the scene of an accident and not rendering help to an injured person.
The incident reportedly happened Sunday afternoon at the Steamboat Ski Area when Howard was traveling down the center of Lower High Noon at a high rate of speed, Routt County Sheriff Deputy Drew Weber said. Witnesses said the snowboarder was straight-lining down the hill, turning only to avoid people. Howard told officials that he hit a small mound of snow and went airborne, at which time he saw the telemark skier. Howard was unable to stop, and he hit the woman, who fractured her leg in the collision, Weber said.
A ski instructor at the scene of the accident said that after hitting the woman, the snowboarder took off down the hill, despite the instructor's warnings to remain at the scene.
The ski instructor went after Howard, who stopped at the bottom of Elkhead Lift.
Howard was held at the lift area until ski patrol arrived and took him to the gondola base, where sheriff's deputies were waiting, Weber said.
Other people who were around the woman who was hit, including a second snowboarder following Howard, helped her.
Howard was cited with third-degree assault for recklessly causing bodily injury and for violation of the Skier Safety Act. Howard allegedly violated the act by not staying at the scene of an accident that involved a collision and injury, failing to render help to the person injured and not remaining to give his name to ski patrol.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials also took Howard's season pass and are deciding whether to cancel it for the remainder of the season.
Issuing criminal citations to people who cause accidents at the ski area is not common, mainly because people do not report the accidents, Weber said.
In this incident, Howard was cited because he was being reckless and traveling too fast with the amount of people on the hill, Weber said.