Last week, a 62-year-old male was found unconscious in the trees at Copper Mountain. He was later pronounced deceased.
The man has since been determined to be David Gissel, 62, of Colorado Springs. He cause of death was determined to be acute heart failure. Acute heart failure can be caused by a number of things including blood clots, a heart attack, or an infection. It often occurs with no previous symptoms.
According to a post from Summit Daily, some studies have found a correlation between an increase in altitude and cardiac problems. The same piece also states that a link is not definitive, as many other factors are at play.
This death marks the 20th of the ski season and 4th death related to a health-issue. All of the health-issue related deaths have occurred in-bounds at resorts. This is the first death of the year at Copper Mountain.
If you’re headed to a higher altitude, make sure you do your research on altitude sickness. It can be deadly. By taking precautions like drinking water and avoiding alcohol, you can limit your risk. That being said, anyone is susceptible. While it’s not known if altitude was a factor in this skier death, it’s crucial to know how to recognize the symptoms of altitude sickness and what to do when they creep up.
This link is a good place to start learning about altitude sickness, but consulting a medical professional will be your best option.
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