UPDATE: An Illinois man is dead after falling from chairlift at Breckenridge Ski Resort

Summit County Sheriff's Office says the man fell about 25 feet onto a hard-packed trail on Friday while reportedly removing snow from seat on Zendo Chair

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and to correct John Perucco’s age.

A skier is dead after falling from a chairlift at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Friday, March 17.

John Perucco, 60, of Elgin, Illinois, was pronounced dead at St. Anthony’s Summit Hospital in Frisco after the fall, the Summit County Coroner’s Office said in an email. Perucco was reportedly wearing a helmet when he fell from the lift.

Perucco had not yet reached Tower 1 of Zendo Chair when he fell approximately 25 feet before landing on a hard-packed, groomed trail below, according to an email from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. The department was reportedly notified around 11:20 a.m. of a death at the emergency room.

The investigation determined the “male had fallen off of the chairlift as he was attempting to remove snow from the seat surface,” according to the Sheriff’s Office, which added that the restraint bar was in the up position.

Zendo Chair is a four-person, fixed-grip chairlift that traverses from Peak 7 to Peak 6, according to It opened in 2013, according to past Summit Daily News reports.

“This is another tragic Spring Break accidental death,” Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons wrote in his email. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the decedent.”

The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board is investigating the incident, according to Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies spokesperson Lee Rasizer. A public report will be published on the Tramway Safety Board’s website upon the completion of the investigation, Rasizer said.

Rasizer did not respond to questions related to whether the incident involved a fall from a chairlift, whether a chairlift malfunction was reported and which chairlift was involved.

Breckenridge Ski Resort confirmed a “serious incident” on Friday on Peak 7. Breckenridge Ski Resort senior communications manager Sara Lococo said the guest from Elgin, Illinois, was transported to St. Anthony Summit Hospital and later pronounced dead.

“Breckenridge Ski Resort, Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts community extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest’s family and friends,” Jody Churich, vice president and chief operating officer at Breckenridge Ski Resort, said in a statement.

Lococo declined to answer questions related to whether the man had fallen from a lift, where the incident occurred and whether the resort believes an operational issue factored into the incident.

Summit Daily News editor Andrew Maciejewski contributed to this report.

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