Norrie dies 16 days after sliding accident at Breck
DENVER – Breckenridge Ski Resort employee Catherine Norrie died Tuesday at St. Anthony’s Hospital after her family removed her from life support. She was 25.
Norrie, a native of New Zealand and five-year member of the ski school, had been in critical condition since sustaining severe brain injuries Jan. 11 while sliding on a lift tower pad with other resort employees after hours in the Peak 8 terrain park.
One resort employee resigned over the incident, saying ski school supervisors should have prevented it from happening.
In a statement released Tuesday, Breckenridge Ski Resort said: “This loss is felt by the entire Vail Resorts family. On behalf of Breckenridge Ski Resort and all of Vail Resorts, we offer our deepest sympathy to our employee’s colleagues, friends and family.
“Tragic incidents like this one, while extraordinarily rare, have a dramatic effect on an employee’s department, in this case Breckenridge Ski and Ride School, as well as all resort employees and the Breckenridge community as a whole. The resort has been providing counseling to our employee’s colleagues throughout this difficult time.”
Breckenridge spokeswoman Emily Jacob said the resort has finished its investigation into the incident but will not make those findings public.
Norrie’s mother, Joan, who was staying in Summit County this winter as part of a Rotary International home exchange program, and her sister, Helen, who flew in from New Zealand a day after the accident, made the final decision to remove life support.
Norrie had been in a coma since the accident, showing little sign of improvement.
“It was a serious enough injury that, from the first day, the prognosis was not at all optimistic,” said Don Sather, a Frisco Rotarian with whom Joan Norrie was staying at the time of the accident.
Sather said Norrie showed some signs of voluntary movement in the week following the accident, but it didn’t last.
“There seemed to be some glimmer of hope,” he said. “But last week there was a turn for the worse.”
The Summit County Rotary Club and Breckenridge Ski Resort have set up the Catherine Norrie Memorial Fund with Alpine Bank.
Donations can be made at any Alpine Bank office in Summit County. The money will help with medical bills not covered by insurance, funeral costs, expenses related to bringing family members to Colorado and, perhaps, a permanent memorial to Norrie.
Norrie was a registered organ donor, and those wishes are being carried out to the extent that they can, according to Sather.
Joan Norrie was planning to stay in Summit County through the end of March.
“She will make that decision next week,” Sather said. “She needs some time to reflect and decide what her short-term plans will be.”
Norrie’s father, John, died of similar injuries in October 2002 while skiing in New Zealand.
Norrie’s funeral will be held in Breckenridge, but the time and place are yet to be determined. The Breckenridge Ski Resort is planning its own memorial service for this week.
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