STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A skier who died at Colorado’s Steamboat Resort suffocated after falling head first into a tree well, authorities said Monday.
Frank Maimone, 53, of Philadelphia was found unresponsive Saturday afternoon at the bottom of a black diamond, or expert trail, resort spokeswoman Loryn Duke said. He was given advanced life support on the way to the hospital but was pronounced dead there, she said.
An autopsy performed Monday showed that Maimone died of asphyxiation, Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said. He told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that it is difficult to tell how long Maimone had been in the tree well at the resort, which received over 40 inches (102 centimeters) of new snow from an intense storm that hit Thursday.
Falling into deep, loose snow can immobilize skiers and snowboarders and lead to suffocation, according to the National Association of Ski Areas. It suggests avoiding skiing or riding near the base of trees if possible, especially in deep snow or windblown conditions, and skiing or riding with a partner in deep snow or near trees.
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