It is being reported by the Vail Daily that Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis found that Jason Varnish, 46, who died on Vail’s Chair 37 chairlift, did not fall through the chair, which had previously been reported.
Bettis’ findings show that Varnish died of positional asphyxia after his clothing became entangled. Varnish was unable to breathe due to his coat and tight clothing around his chest and abdominal region.
Bettis had 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 issued the following statement following the accident:
“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.”
The death has been ruled accidental.
Varnish, according to his obituary, is survived by his sons Cameron and Luko, his daughter Grace, and their mother Jo.