Snowmobiler Caleb Moore became the first death in the history of the Winter X Games Thursday. The 25-year-old Texan died from complications of an injury sustained during competition in Aspen Jan. 24.
Moore was attempting a backflip on his snowmobile during the freestyle competition. He didn't rotate far enough, causing the front of his machine's skis to catch on the ramp. Moore was thrown forward and his snowmobile landed on top of him.
"We are all disappointed and saddened to hear he passed away," said Richard Holcroft, president of High Country Snowmobile Club in Summit County. "The portion of the snowmobiling community that performs in the X Games is the extreme edge of our sport. Those guys are really pushing the envelope and sometimes it doesn't work out as well as we want."
The trick that Moore was attempting to perform is not an unusual one, according to Holcroft. "I believe it was an accident. These guys are just pushing the limits, trying to go bigger and bigger," he said. "They've been doing backflips for quite a few years now. ... It wasn't a crazy new trick."
Anita Koverman, a local snowmobiler, said she was watching the X Games on TV when Moore crashed. She said that he eventually got up on his own, so she was shocked to hear that he had died.
Pat Quigley, another Summit County snowmobile enthusiast, also expressed his feelings about the tragedy.
"It's really bad. I'm sorry to hear about that," he said. "I never knew him personally, but he was a great inspiration for young kids in the sport. It's a sorry thing to hear that he passed away. I wish the best for his family."
Holcroft said that while he didn't know of any local event to memorialize Moore, that it would be brought up at the next club meeting.
"This is what these athletes do, they try to represent each of their sports .... These are the best athletes that we have available. It is unfortunate," he said.
On its Facebook page, Summit Snowmobilers posted a link to an article about Moore's death, stating "It is a very sad day for our sport."