Coroner identifies skier who died Friday at Breckenridge Ski Resort

Kevin Fixler /

Colorado experienced its fourth skier fatality of the 2016-17 season when 26-year-old Ricardo Cohen died at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Friday, Feb. 10.

Cohen, of Mexico City, Mexico, died while skiing on the Volunteer run off Peak 9’s C-Chair Friday morning after slamming hard into snow, according to the Summit County Coroner’s Office. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, but the level of head trauma from the crash ultimately proved too grave. Breckenridge Ski Patrol responded to the incident, but after on-scene medical care and evaluation Cohen was pronounced deceased.

“Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest’s family and friends,” John Buhler, vice president and COO of the ski area, said in a statement released by the resort Friday evening.

By Saturday afternoon, family and friends began posting tribute photos and messages on Facebook for Cohen, whose personal page lists his residence as Barcelona, Spain.

“I don’t know how to explain what I feel!” an English translation reads from Karem Sofia Coronado, Cohen’s cousin. “One thing I am sure of is that people like you in this world, there are very few. I know that God receives you with open arms.”

“I’ve been slow to share my pain,” reads a translated post from Sergio David Cohen Coronado, identifying Cohen as his godson. “We are stunned with this huge void. Ricardo was educated, always with love, and showed a great interest for others. Thanks to life for allowing me to be part of yours.”

Colorado Ski Country USA, the trade association that represents 22 of the state’s ski areas, though none of the four Colorado Vail Resorts properties, confirmed Cohen’s death marks the fourth of the current ski year. The two other skier collision fatalities this season have also happened on advanced terrain at Breckenridge Ski Resort — 48-year-old Kevin Pitts, of Longmont, on Dec. 19 on the Alpine Alley run and 47-year-old Sean Haberthier, of Denver, on Jan. 12 on the Lower Boneyard run.

The state’s other death this year occurred on Dec. 29 at Ski Granby Ranch in Grand County when 40-year-old Kelly Huber, of San Antonio, Texas, fell from the Quick Draw Express lift with her two young children after the chairlift bucked the three 25 feet to the ground due to a faulty part. Huber and her two daughters were raced to Middle Park Medical Center in Granby, before the youngest of her daughters, 9, was medevaced by Flight For Life to Children’s Hospital in Aurora. The two girls survived, while their mother succumbed to the severity of her traumatic injuries.

Nine people died while skiing or snowboarding in Colorado during the 2015-16 season, six of which occurred in Summit County. Four of those six Summit fatalities last year took place at Breckenridge, including the final three of the season — all in the month of April. The six in the county matched the same total during the 2013-14 season, and topped the four from 2014-15.

According to the National Ski Areas Association, a Lakewood, Colorado-based trade group representing the country’s resort owners and operators, there were 39 total fatalities nationwide last ski year.

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