Colorado skier death toll climbs to 14 for season after accident at Loveland | SteamboatToday.com

Colorado skier death toll climbs to 14 for season after accident at Loveland

Kevin Fixler/Summit Daily







— A 59-year-old Front Range man died while skiing at Loveland Ski Area on Friday, April 28, the Clear Creek County coroner confirmed Tuesday. The Boulder Daily Camera was first to report the incident early Tuesday morning.

Kevin Edwards, of Boulder, was involved in an accident in the wooded area of the ski area's double-black diamond West Ropes run off Lift 4. According to information from the ski area, Edwards was reported missing at approximately 12:35 p.m., which initiated a search by ski patrollers. He was located a little after 1 p.m. and rescuers performed CPR, but Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Loveland Ski Area wishes to extend its deepest condolences to the friends and family of the skier," Loveland wrote in the statement provided to members of the media.

Coroner Chris Hegmann said the incident is still under investigation to understand both the manner and cause of death, and results from an autopsy completed Tuesday morning are expected in the coming days. Hegmann did confirm Edwards was not wearing a helmet.

The death is the second at Loveland this season after 35-year-old Cole Barker, of Georgetown, died after colliding with a tree while skiing on March 24. It's also the resort's fourth fatality in the last decade following the deaths of 35-year-old Dan Beckenholdt, of Lutherville, Maryland, in March 2013 and 71-year-old Joseph Shematek, of Windsor, Colorado, in March 2012.

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Edwards' death is also Colorado's 14th inbounds, ski-related fatality during the 2016-17 season — the most since the all-time record of 22 in 2011-12. Summit County's Breckenridge Ski Resort, now closed, leads the state this season with five, now followed by Loveland's two. Seven of Colorado's other 27 resorts have had a death this winter.

A friend's blog post paying tribute to Edwards and their 15-plus seasons of chasing the powder together noted Edwards was an expert skier who took an annual trip to British Columbia, Canada, for a week of heli-skiing. The two also made yearly trips to Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Because of the difficulty of the surrounding terrain, ski patrol called and requested the coroner's approval to relocate the body to the the resort base following their on-hill investigation. Hegmann and the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office previously confirmed Loveland ski patrol mishandled Barker's remains and prematurely cleaned up the scene before a formal investigation could be completed.

Loveland Ski Area is one of the last resorts in the state still open. It has plans to close Sunday, May 7.