Skier, 13, dies in snowmobile collision |

Skier, 13, dies in snowmobile collision

Matt Zalaznick
Special to the Daily/John F. Russell/Steamboat PilAshley Stamp competes at the J-4 Junior Olympics in Steamboat Springs in 2003. Stamp, 13, died Saturday after she collided with a snowmobile while skiing down the Golden Peak race course on Vail Mountain.

VAIL – A 13-year-old skier warming up for a race was killed Sunday morning when she collided with a snowmobile on Vail Mountain. Ashley Stamp, described as a promising young ski racer, of Steamboat Springs, was apparently skiing fast in the Golden Peak Race Arena when she collided with a snowmobile carrying two members of the race crew, said Sgt. Shawn Olmstead of the Colorado State Patrol.”As it stands now, I don’t see fault on the part of either victim,” Olmstead said Sunday, stressing the State Patrol’s investigation was still in its infancy and that there were witnesses yet to be interviewed. The cause of death was blunt force injury to the chest, said Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis. She has ruled Stamp’s death an accident, she said. Stamp, a seventh-grader at Steamboat Springs Middle School and racer with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, has been called one of the group’s “brightest talents.” Her parents, who were in Vail Sunday, were unavailable for comment. The collision occurred in one of those blind spots on ski mountains where a flatter area meets a ridge and drops off more steeply. Stamp and the driver of the snowmobile could not see one another as they approached, Olmstead said. “The hill comes down and levels off just slightly … then it drops down,” Olmstead said. “They met right there where the flat part meets the grade.”The snowmobile had its siren sounding, had a headlight lit and a 6-foot flag flying from the back as it headed up the hill at about 10 mph, Olmstead said.

Stamp was wearing a helmet and headphones, but it’s not clear if music was playing, Olmstead said.The driver of the snowmobile, a 27-year-old Vail man, was “quite upset and traumatized,” Olmstead said. ‘Tough competitor’Last year, Stamp raced in the Whistler Cup, considered an international junior Olympics. Sunday’s race, part of the Rocky Mountain Division Series, was canceled, Vail Mountain spokeswoman Jen Brown said. A candlelight vigil for Stamp was planned Monday at the base of the Howelsen Hill ski area in Steamboat Springs, where she had trained, said Andy Wirth, president of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club board of directors.”The entire Winter Sports Club, our athletes, coaches and staff, are devastated by this tragedy. Ashley Stamp represented the absolute best of this club,” Wirth said. “Our prayers go out to the Stamp family.”Tony Nunnikhoven, former Alpine director of the Winter Sports Club, described Stamp as a tough competitor who loved the sport and her teammates and never missed a practice. She was “the kind of athlete who defines the game for the rest of us,” he said.

He called Stamp “one of our brightest talents at the Winter Sports Club and in our community as a whole,” an athlete with big dreams and hopes for skiing and everything else life had to offer.”Her future was so bright,” Nunnikhoven said. Other race participants were higher up the slope from the collision. The closest witness was 20 to 30 feet away, Olmstead said. Members of Vail Ski Patrol treated Stamp before she was taken to Vail Valley Medical, where she was pronounced dead. “On behalf of the entire Vail Resorts family, our deepest sympathies, condolences and support go out to the girl’s family and friends, to the close-knit racing community and to the entire community of Steamboat Springs,” Vail Mountain’s chief operating officer, Bill Jensen, said Sunday. Second death

Stamp’s death was the second at Vail this week and the second of the ski season.The body of 42-year-old Michael Combs, who lived in the Los Angeles area, was found near the bottom the Riva Ridge run Tuesday after he had been missing for almost 20 hours. Combs had been with his girlfriend – 32-year-old Alison Eastwood, the daughter of film legend Clint Eastwood – but split up with her, complaining he wasn’t feeling well. He apparently suffered a seizure on the way down the mountain. Eastwood called authorities when Combs failed to meet her in Vail Village. Steamboat Springs Pilot & Today reporter Susan Cunningham and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Vail Colorado

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