A skier appears to have suffocated to death at Vail on Thursday after he fell from a chairlift and became caught with his coat wrapped around his head and neck, officials said.
Jason Varnish, 46, died of positional asphyxia in the Blue Sky Basin area, according to Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis.
Bettis told the Vail Daily that “the chairlift’s folding seat was in the upright position, according to witnesses, instead of being folded down so riders could sit on it, leaving an open area which one could fall through if they did not notice the seat was not in place.”
Vail Resorts has issued the following statement:
“Vail Mountain confirms a serious incident that took place yesterday involving a 46-year-old man from New Jersey. The incident occurred when the guest attempted to load the Skyline Express lift (Chair 37). Vail Mountain Ski Patrol responded to the incident and performed CPR and emergency care on scene before the guest was transported to Vail Health, where he was pronounced deceased.”
*Our deepest condolences to Mr. Varnish’s family and friends.