Ski accident claims local woman at Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Ski accident claims local woman at Beaver Creek

Dustin Racioppi
dracioppi@vaildaily.com
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado

Vail Trail archivesJune Kang

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” A longtime and well-known local died Friday after a skiing accident at Beaver Creek.

June Kang, 65, of Arrowhead, was rushed from the Golden Bear run around 11:15 a.m. to Vail Valley Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. The resort wouldn’t release any details of the incident other than that she was wearing a helmet and Beaver Creek Ski Patrol provided advanced life support to Kang.

An autopsy is scheduled for today, said Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis.

The news of Kang’s sudden death sent an uneasy feeling through the Arrowhead community, where Kang was well-known, loved and respected.

“I think everybody is in total shock about it,” said Ellie Parsons, an Arrowhead resident and member of the Alpine Club, of which Kang was a member. “She was just so good at everything she did. We’re all just wondering if something happened prior to the accident to cause the accident.”

Neighbors say Kang loved golf, cooking, skiing and her family. Close friend Steve Whitten said Kang has two daughters, one of whom drove from her home in Golden to view her mother’s body at a funeral home in Gypsum, and the other was flying in from Washington, D.C. late Friday night.

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Kang is also survived by her husband, Han, who is a retired professor at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo. where the Kangs and other Arrowhead residents hail from. Han Kang could not be reached Friday evening.

“A lot of people knew her well and felt close to her,” Parsons said. “Everyone loved her. She was just a precious, precious woman.”

Marvin Morrison and his wife were stunned to hear that their longtime neighbor was involved in the accident Friday.

“It’s hard to believe she’s gone,” he said. “We’re obviously saddened and very distressed.”

Morrison said the Kangs were the ideal neighbors, too.

“We’ve had a marvelous time with them many times,” he said. “She’s a wonderful person, a really sweet, loving mother and grandmother. It’s a sad thing.”

Whitten, who’s also from Cape Girardeau, said he and his wife spent time with the Kang family Friday comforting them and helping make arrangements.

“I’d say they’re coping reasonably well. Obviously they’re upset,” he said. “They just need some time alone.”

It’s also a difficult loss to bear for the Whittens ” who’ve known the Kangs for 30 years ” and for other friends like Jill Smirl, whose parents have been close to the Kangs since the days of living in Cape Girardeau.

“It’s a horrible tragedy,” Smirl said.

The comforting part of the tragedy, Smirl said, is the Kang family is not alone trying to get through this tough time.

“(Han Kang) has a lot of support from not only his Arrowhead community but also his close friends from Cape Girardeau,” she said.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or dracioppi@vaildaily.com.