A part-time cat-driver for Loveland Ski Area who died skiing this past Friday was transported improperly by members of the ski patrol according to the Clear Creek County Coroner.
Cole Barker of Silver Plume was skiing near the bottom of Lift 8 when he hit a tree– an accident that would ultimately take the skier’s life. He was 35 years old at the time of death.
The Summit Daily is reporting that an eye-witness named Mary Radke was the first on the scene. According to Radke’s report, ski patrol arrived roughly ten minutes after she found the body. Once there, ski patrol proceeded to alert local authorities before pronouncing the man dead.
“Cole was a coworker and a friend to many up here at Loveland and the whole Loveland family extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends affected by this tragic event.” – John Sellers, Loveland Ski Area
Before authorities arrived, ski patrol took the body down slope and proceeded to clean up the scene of the accident. In Colorado, a local coroner must approve of any transportation before a deceased body moves. Radke indicated that members of ski patrol tried to cover up remaining blood stains with snow, which would compromise any investigation into what may have caused the death.
In a emailed response, Loveland Ski Area representative John Sellers told Unofficial that the ski area “is fully cooperating with the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office and their investigation.”
Barker was a part time cat driver on “The Ridge” at Loveland Ski Area and was a well known member of the community. He is survived by his wife Allison as well as his two beloved dogs, Red Dog and Lefty.
*Our deepest condolences go out the friend’s and family of the victim.
Find the entire Summit Daily article here: Clear Creek coroner: Loveland Ski Area ski patrol mishandled dead skier’s body