Colorado skiers die on groomed, blue runs after hitting trees |

Colorado skiers die on groomed, blue runs after hitting trees

SUMMIT COUNTY, CO. - MARCH 2ND: Breckenridge Ski Patrollers take an injured skier off the a hill at the Breckenridge Ski Area Saturday, March 2nd, 2013. (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Experienced male skier. Thirty-seven years old. Wearing a helmet. Loses control on an intermediate, groomed run and hits a tree.

That’s the average person who died on Colorado ski slopes in the past five seasons, according to a Denver Post analysis of ski and snowboarding deaths.

The 59 deaths – which do not include deaths from natural causes or riders in the backcountry or out of bounds – resulted from neck and skull fractures, torn aortas and suffocation after falling into tree wells, as well as inbounds avalanches and one person being impaled on a tree branch. Skiers accounted for 80 percent of the deaths, and two people died after colliding with other riders. Not one of those who died in the past five seasons appeared to be drunk.

The majority of deaths – 54 percent – occurred on blue, groomed runs, while 31 percent were on expert trails. Keystone saw 11 deaths, followed by Breckenridge with seven and Copper Mountain with six. Vail had five deaths.

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