Wed, Feb 22, 2012 10:43 AM
The deaths of four people at Vermont ski areas early this
February is a "tragic coincidence" according to the Vermont Ski
"There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason," said Parker Riehle,
executive director of the Vermont Ski Areas Association. "The trail
conditions have been good."
Three men died after striking a tree off-trail. The other died of
Feb. 4, skier James Wong, 41, of Lexington, Mass., went off a
steeper section of Sleeper Run, a mostly intermediate trail, at
Sugarbush Resort in Warren.
Feb. 6, skier Michael Schroeter, 33, of Highland Mills, N.Y., fell
and slid off an intermediate trail at Mount Snow in West
Feb. 11, Snowboarder Sylven Walton, 29, of Cambridge, Mass., fell
and slid off an expert trail at Jay Peak Resort.
Feb. 16, a long time employee of Mad River Glen as a ski school
instructor Andrew Stewart, age 51 of Fayston, Vt. died of
positional asphyxia. Evidence at the scene showed that Stewart had
attempted to move from the ski patrol office into the ski repair
shop through a small adjoining window inside the building and
became stuck. While the victim's death is unusual, it does not
appear suspicious or criminal in nature. His death is thought to be
Jamey Wimble, General Manager of Mad River Glen stated, "I'm
terribly saddened by this, and I know that feeling is shared by the
rest of our staff. He was a member of our team for more than
ten years, and was a good friend and colleague for all of us.
We'll miss him, and our thoughts are with his family."
Wong and Walton were wearing helmets.
The average skier travels at about 23 mph, too quickly to rely on a
helmet for protection. Helmets are not designed to protect a
skier/rider above speeds of about 15 miles per hour, experts
About 40 people die each year in the United States from injuries
sustained while skiing or snowboarding, according to the National
Ski Areas Association.
Snowmaking machines have helped keep Vermont's ski resorts running
this winter, and have kept conditions good albeit more hard-packed
than most years. During the Presidents Day break, which began last
weekend, Vermont resorts tend to bring in about a third of their
business, Riehle said. Encouraging everyone to enjoy the slopes