Skier dies in Vail Mountain collision
VAIL – A 13-year-old skier warming up for a race was killed Sunday morning when she collided with a snowmobile on Vail Mountain. Ashley Stamp, described as a promising young ski racer from Steamboat Springs, was apparently skiing fast in the Golden Peak Race Arena when she collided with a snowmobile carrying two members of the race crew, said Sgt. Shawn Olmstead of the Colorado State Patrol.”As it stands now, I don’t see fault on the part of (anyone),” Olmstead said Sunday while stressing the State Patrol’s investigation is still in its infancy and there were witnesses yet to be interviewed. The collision occurred in a blind spot where a flat area of the run meets and ridge and drops off. Stamp and the driver of the snowmobile could not see one another as they approached, Olmstead said.
“The hill comes down and levels off just slightly … then it drops down,” Olmstead said. “They met right there where the flat part meets the grade.”The snowmobile’s siren was sounding, its headlight was illuminated and a six-foot flag was flying from the back as the machine headed up the hill at about 10 mph, Olmstead said. Stamp was wearing a helmet and headphones, but it’s not clear if music was playing, Olmstead said.The driver of the snowmobile was “quite upset and traumatized,” Olmstead said. Last year, Stamp raced in the Whistler Cup, an event considered an international junior Olympics. Sunday’s race, part of the Rocky Mountain Division Series, was canceled, Vail Mountain spokeswoman Jen Brown said.
A candlelight vigil for Stamp was planned for Monday at the base of the Howelsen Hill ski area in Steamboat Springs where she had trained, said Andy Wirth, president of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club board of directors.”The entire Winter Sports Club, our athletes, coaches and staff, are devastated by this tragedy. Ashley Stamp represented the absolute best of this club,” Wirth said. “Our prayers go out to the Stamp family.”The closest witness to the accident was 20 to 30 feet way, Olmstead said. Members of the Vail Ski Patrol treated Stamp before she was taken to Vail Valley Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. “On behalf of the entire Vail Resorts family, our deepest sympathies, condolences and support go out to the girl’s family and friends, to the close-knit racing community and to the entire community of Steamboat Springs,” Vail Mountain’s chief operating officer, Bill Jensen, said Sunday. An autopsy was performed Sunday afternoon.
Stamp’s death was the second at Vail this week and the second of the ski season.The body of 42-year-old Michael Combs, who lived in the Los Angeles, area was found near the bottom the Riva Ridge run Tuesday after he had been missing for almost 20 hours. Combs had been with his girlfriend – 32-year-old Alison Eastwood, the daughter of film legend Clint Eastwood – but split up with her complaining he wasn’t feeling well. He apparently suffered a seizure on the way down the mountain. Eastwood called authorities when Combs failed to meet her in Vail Village. Steamboat Springs Pilot & Today reporter Susan Cunningham and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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