A 56-year-old Florida man was taken off life support Saturday after suffering injuries from a ski accident last week at Wolf Creek Ski Area, said Owner Davey Pitcher.
Michael Black, who owned a second home in Pagosa Springs, died at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood, five days after he crashed into a tree while skiing at Wolf Creek on March 21.
According to Pitcher, Black was on his first or second run of the day, on a groomed, intermediate trail called Summer Days, when he lost control and fell.
Pitcher said ski patrol arrived to find Black conscious and able to recount the accident. There were no witnesses.
Though some details remain unclear, Pitcher said it appears Black lost a ski, and, as a result, began to “tomahawk” – when a skier crashes and turns end over end consecutively. He then lost control, skied off the trail and struck a tree.
“In his words, he said he tomahawked and felt or heard his neck break,” Pitcher said. “And then he slid off the edge of the trail.”
Pitcher said Black sustained internal injuries, including broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He was wearing a helmet. Black told first responders he probably should have slowed down.
Black was taken to St. Anthony’s, where he was able to communicate with his wife, who was in Florida. She arranged to come to Colorado the following day, but sometime Wednesday night, Black sustained a blood clot in his brain and lost consciousness.
On Saturday, Black’s wife decided to take him off life support. She arranged to donate some of his organs, Pitcher said.
According to Pitcher, Black was a season pass-holder at Wolf Creek Ski Area for 12 years. Black, his wife and 13-year-old daughter spent the previous week skiing together. Black had decided to stay an extra week or two.
“A really nice gentleman,” Pitcher said. “It was real terrible for his wife and his 13-year-old daughter. They left two or three days before the accident.”
This is the first fatality at Wolf Creek Ski area since 2013, when a college-aged man died while teaching himself how to ski. In that incident, Pitcher said witnesses noted the man skiing straight down the hill, “100 percent out of control,” before he hit a tree.