Well-known Aspen skier Sam Coffey dead at 29

Austin Colbert
The Aspen Times
Sam Coffey
Photo courtesy Strafe and Elliot Wilkinson-Ray via Facebook

Sam Coffey, a well-known local skier who grew up in Snowmass Village, died Monday, according to friends who were close to him. He was 29.

While vacationing in Mexico last week, Coffey suffered a stroke and spent the next few days going in and out of a coma, longtime friend and Aspen Olympian Wiley Maple wrote in a text message Monday night. Coffey suffered additional strokes during that time and passed away Monday morning, Maple said.

Coffey was a 2008 graduate of Aspen High School and was part of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. He went on to become an All-American ski racer at the University of New Hampshire.

He was part of the Aspen “ski gang” that called itself “The Freaks,” which he co-founded alongside childhood friends Baker Boyd and Maple.

Maple, a current World Cup ski racer and 2018 Olympian, had been with Coffey in Mexico only a few days before the incident. Maple had returned to school before Coffey went to the hospital. Coffey served as Maple’s ski technician for the 2018-19 ski season.

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“We were having a blast surfing and just living that slow, Mexican life,” Maple wrote via text Monday night. “From what I understand he just woke up one morning not feeling well — took a nap then started his stretching warm-up for a surf session and collapsed. They rushed him to the hospital and thought the worst was over.”

Boyd was among those with him at the time of the incident, Maple said.

Maple posted video clips on Instagram on Monday in honor of his friend. One was of him uphilling in a pair of skis he said belonged to Coffey.

“Lucky enough to have a pair of Sam’s skis with me,” Maple wrote on his post. “Thought I should stop crying and start skiing.”

Coffey was well known in the ski industry, both through his work in public relations and through his skills on snow. Many more individuals and organizations took to social media Monday to acknowledge his passing.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear our friend, Sam Coffey, has passed away,” the World Pro Ski Tour wrote on Instagram. “Sam’s indomitable spirit, and world class skiing will live on forever. Sending our deepest condolences to family and friends.”

Coffey’s father, Joe Coffey, was a Snowmass icon; he served as the town’s housing director for 38 years. Joe Coffey died in January 2018 at the age of 64 after a 10-year battle with melanoma.

“He loved skiing more than anything else,” Sam Coffey said at the time. “He might be the only person who likes skiing more than me.”

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