Snowboarder dies at Steamboat Ski Area

22-year-old man fell into tree well

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Recent deaths at the Steamboat Ski Area

Jan. 15, 2008 - Mark Joseph Stout, 45, of Ottsville, Pa., suffocated after falling into a tree well on the Cowboy Coffee trail in Morningside Park

Feb. 20, 2005 - Thomas Dolven, 46, of Denver died after falling headfirst into deep snow near the bottom of Chute 2 on the upper mountain

Feb. 26, 2002 - Norma Raye Teague, 63, of Spring, Texas, died two days after falling on the Headwall trail and suffering an internal abdominal injury

Feb. 11, 2001 - James Lee, 22, of Westminster died after hitting his chest and head on a table-top jump in the Bashor terrain park

Dec. 16, 2000 - Matthew Westley, 23, of Steamboat Springs suffocated after falling headfirst into deep snow off the Frying Pan trail in Morningside Park

— A 22-year-old Massachusetts man died Friday afternoon after falling headfirst into a tree well at the Steamboat Ski Area. It was the second snow-immersion death at the ski area in 10 days.

Jared Daniel, of Auburn, Mass., was snowboarding with friends on Snooze Bar, an intermediate trail in the Morningside Park area of the upper mountain, when the accident occurred, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said. Steamboat Ski Patrol was called to the scene about 2:30 p.m.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Daniel fell headfirst into a tree well, the unstable hole or depression that forms around the base of a tree when low branches prevent snow from filling in and creating snowpack around the trunk.

A friend snowboarding with Daniel was unable to pull him out on his own, and it took about 15 minutes before the friend and others who stopped to help were able to free Daniel from the snow, Ryg said.

"When the first patrollers arrived on scene, there were some guests already doing CPR," Lane said.

Ski Patrol took over CPR upon arrival and administered advanced life support measures. Patrollers transported Daniel to an ambulance at the Slope Maintenance Building, where he was pronounced dead.

Daniel's cause of death is expected to be suffocation, though the investigation is ongoing and an official cause of death has not been determined, Ryg said.

A 45-year-old man died under similar circumstances at the Steamboat Ski Area on Jan. 15. Mark Joseph Stout of Ottsville, Pa., was skiing with his 15-year-old daughter and friends when he fell behind the group on the intermediate Cowboy Coffee trail, also in Morningside Park.

Stout's family and friends waited for him at the bottom of the trail, then reported him missing to Steamboat Ski Patrol. Patrollers located his body about 1 p.m. that day and administered CPR, but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Ski area officials and Ryg determined that Stout fell into a tree well, where he died of suffocation.

Stout's death was the first at Steamboat Ski Area since February 2005.

Ski and snowboarding deaths caused by suffocation are referred to as Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Deaths, or NARSIDs. Of the six deaths at the Steamboat Ski Area since 2000, including Friday's, four can be classified as NARSIDs.

According to research conducted by Northwest Avalanche Institute Director Paul Baugher, NARSIDs account for 15 percent of all snowboarding fatalities and 5 percent of skier fatalities. During the 2005-06 season, four of the 10 snowboarding fatalities at U.S. ski resorts were NARSIDs.

An average of 10 people die on Colorado ski slopes each year. The winter of 2007-08 already has seen several other fatalities across the state, at areas including Vail, Breckenridge, Wolf Creek, and Durango Mountain Resort.

Comments

love_boat 6 years, 2 months ago

How sad and awful for the family. 2 deaths in such a short time in Steamboat is hard to fathom.

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skiblue 6 years, 2 months ago

My family was skiing with Mark Stout on Tuesday, the terrible accident. Just learning of Jared's accident is awful. So young. My condolences and prayers to his family and friends. And his friends were with him, how devastating for them. Someone mentioned about signs at the entrance to Morningside Park regarding the dangers of NARSID. That is an excellent idea. Skiers from the east are nieve to NARSID. With the dampness, we don't have "Champagne Powder." Honestly, most of us have little or no clue of the dangers. Our dangers of skiing in the west are hitting a tree or an avalanche. Please post the warnings and be so extra careful. Morningside Park is beautiful. Guys, you did what you could have. I'm still beating myself up with not being there for Mark. And ski patrol, I know you did all you could have....You did for Mark.

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crimble 6 years, 2 months ago

All of our prayers go to those who are affected by this latest tragedy. Om Namah Shivaya

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 2 months ago

I am so sorry for all,............ these tree wells have been a real problem this year, maybe more talk about the hazard will bring more awareness, and save lives.

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kusellout 6 years, 2 months ago

Sounds silly...but I've started carrying a whistle when I go alone in case I where to fall into something that I couldn't get myself out of. I encourage others to consider this idea as well.

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jeep 6 years, 2 months ago

skyblue. i have lived in steamboat for 33 years /before that time, Wisconsin ,learned to ski at 6 yrs young, you learn not to go where you can,t see. signs will not help., if you ski know your own ability, or you might suffer, i feel so bad in my heart for the last two lives that were lost ,

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skiblue 6 years, 2 months ago

Kusellout

A whistle is a very smart idea. Ski patrol has strongly suggested that. You never know. Our group were all advanced skiers. All my prayers are to the Stout and Daniel families and the safety of all skiers.

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Jay_K 6 years, 2 months ago

It's a sad fact that snow sports are inherently dangerous. Every time you go up to ski or ride, you're basically taking your life into your hands. That's why state law absolves the resort of liability in the event of accidents and death. While skiing or riding, it's not just about staying within your ability; you've also got to watch out for everyone else up there who might not be.

It really isn't surprising that both deaths occurred in Morningside. As flat as the terrain is there, it's tough to maintain speed through the trees, and without speed, you've got fairly little control over where you go. If trees are where you're wanting to ski or ride, there are any number of better places to find them.

My sympathy to the families of the two victims.

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jmac 6 years, 2 months ago

I was in Steamboat and skiing those trails that weekend and like Jared I to fell into a Tree Well. I had no idea what happened or could have happened, I just knew I had to get out before I died. I literally pulled myself up by the tree branches until I could get back above the snow. Exhausted, I never knew of the real danger I was in, I just wanted to get back to the trails to meet my friends. It wasn't until I heard of Jared's death that night that I got a sick feeling. I to hurt for the families and friends and offer my sympathies. I am not from a ski area or grew up skiing, I go once a year with friends, I agree first you need to realize your limitations and perhaps better warnings would be helpful. I realized that night I was lucky and a very important lesson learned and an new appreciation for what I have.

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