Most read stories of 2016: First Colorado ski death occurs at Breckenridge Ski Resort Dec. 19 (No. 5)
December 27, 2016
Editor's note: From Dec. 22-31, the Summit Daily will be reposting the 10 most-read stories on summitdaily.com in 2016. The below story is No. 5, originally published on Dec. 20, 2016.
Breckenridge Ski Resort confirmed the death a 48-year-old man after an incident on an advanced trail on Monday afternoon, Dec. 19, marking the state's first snow sport fatality for the 2016-17 season.
Longmont resident Kevin Pitts reportedly hit a tree on Alpine Alley, a black run between the T-Bar and the Imperial Express SuperChair off Peak 8, a little after 1 p.m. The Summit County 911 Center received a call at 1:17 p.m. and Breckenridge ski patrol rushed Pitts, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center's Breckenridge Medical Center at the base of Peak 9. Following emergency care and evaluation, he was pronounced dead at that location at 1:42 p.m. from a cause of accidental blunt force trauma.
"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 Breckenridge Ski Resort, said in the statement.
Pitts' LinkedIn page lists him as director of product marketing in Oracle's communications global business unit. He received his degree in history from Boston University in 1991 and a MBA from Colorado State University in 1998.
The county coroner confirmed his wife and their two teenage children were with him at the resort. Pitts, a Colorado native who grew up in Loveland, would have turned 49 on Dec. 28.
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Nine people died while skiing or snowboarding in Colorado last season, six of which occurred in Summit County. 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 during the 2015-16 ski year.
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.
"The resort did a great job," Steve Benscheidt, Pitts' mother Ena's husband, said in a phone message left for the Summit Daily. "They're bringing back his car and everything, so nothing higher could be said for The Lodge and the resort there."
The family plans to establish a GoFundMe page to accept donations for the Pitts' children's educations. The Daily will update this story online as that information becomes available.