Wolf Creek Ski Area death March 21 confirmed as state’s 11th
A 56-year-old Florida man died after skiing at Wolf Creek Ski Area on Tuesday morning, March 21, the southwestern Colorado resort told the Summit Daily Monday.
Michael Black was traveling at a high rate of speed on the freshly-groomed Summer Day intermediate run by the edge of the trail near some trees when he lost a ski, according to Wolf Creek president and CEO Davey Pitcher. Black, while wearing a helmet, began to uncontrollably somersault before coming to a rest when he collided with a downed tree.
Ski patrol tended to the man, who Pitcher said never lost consciousness while at the resort and was responsive to staff who came to his aid. Pagosa Springs emergency responders then helped transfer Black, who suffered neck, rib and internal injuries consistent with blunt-force trauma, by fixed-wing aircraft to a Denver hospital for higher-level care.
By Tuesday evening, Black reportedly experienced complications from a blood clot and passed away.
“He had a second home in Pagosa Springs, and was always reaching out to people, saying good morning and being very pleasant,” said Davey. “It’s a real tragedy.”
Black’s death became Colorado’s 11th ski fatality of the 2016-17 season, an official with the state’s ski trade association confirmed. A 35-year-old man subsequently died at Loveland Ski Area on Friday, March 24, bumping the winter’s total up to its present 12. Summit County’s Breckenridge Ski Resort has had the most on-mountain deaths in Colorado this year with four.
Wolf Creek now stands at seven inbounds ski deaths in the past decade. The last fatality there occurred in January 2013 when a 70-year-old Pagosa Springs man died from multiple chest injuries after skiing into a tree.