Friday, February 11, 2011

Ketchum skier dies on Baldy

Resort says man, 49, collided with a tree

Express Staff Writer

     Ketchum resident Christopher Bridgeman, 49, died on Bald Mountain Wednesday after colliding with a tree while skiing down Graduate, an intermediate ski run that descends off Lower College in the center of the mountain.

     Blaine County Coroner Russ Mikel didn’t release Bridgeman’s identity until Thursday evening because authorities were unable to reach his wife, who was out of the country until then. Bridgeman also has a son in high school.

     Blaine County Sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis said Bridgeman was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

     Jack Sibbach, chief spokesman for Sun Valley Resort, said the Sun Valley Ski Patrol responded to a report of an “unconscious and unresponsive” male skier in the “Graduate area” of Baldy just after 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. The victim could not be revived and was pronounced dead by the coroner at 11:19 a.m., Sibbach said.

     Bridgeman was within ski-area boundaries, he said.

     “Sun Valley Resort management and staff extend their sympathies to the family,” he said.

     Sibbach said these accidents don’t happen often but are an “inherent risk” of the sport.

     “It’s a sad day,” he said Wednesday.

     The incident is being investigated, Sibbach said, and details about the cause or the conditions of the accident have not been established.        

     The last death on Bald Mountain was Jan. 22, 2010, when 35-year Ketchum resident Tim Michael, 54, was struck by an avalanche while skiing down an ungroomed area near the bottom of Fire Trail run on Seattle Ridge. The ski patrol dug him out and performed CPR. Michael was later pronounced dead at St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center due to “traumatic asphyxiation,” according to Mikel.

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