February 4

Husson football player dies in Sugarloaf ski accident

Stephen Colvin, 21, skied off the Hayburner trail and struck trees, officials said.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — A Husson University football player from New York died at Sugarloaf on Tuesday morning after skiing into trees off Hayburner trail.

click image to enlarge

Stephen Colvin

Photo courtesy of Husson University

click image to enlarge

MOUNTAIN DEATH: Sugarloaf Mountain is seen Tuesday afternoon from the Base Lodge after a 21-year-old skier died earlier in the day.

Staff photo by Kaitlin Schroeder

Stephen Colvin, 21, of Hoosick, N.Y., was skiing with two teammates and a third person who wasn’t a member of the team, a Husson spokesman said Tuesday.

The Sugarloaf Ski Patrol responded to the report of the accident about 9:30 a.m. and took Colvin to the Sugarloaf First Aid Clinic while performing CPR. Paramedics from Northstar Ambulance continued treating Colvin at the clinic until he was pronounced dead.

Carrabassett Valley Police Chief Mark Lopez said Colvin, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, lost control on the black-diamond Hayburner trail and struck several trees in the woods. A LifeFlight helicopter was activated, but then canceled after he was pronounced dead.

Chris Miller and Bo Miller heard the news about the accident while they were packing up after a day of skiing, and said that as frequent skiers, they hear about a fatal ski accident or two every year.

“It’s terrible when something like that happens,” said Chris Miller, 25, of Kingfield. “I don’t know what specifically happened today, but you just have to be careful not to exceed the conditions or what you feel comfortable with.”

A sophomore at Husson studying environmental science, Colvin was a linebacker on the football team, according to Eric Gordon, Husson’s executive director for marketing and communication.

The university found out about Colvin’s death Tuesday morning, Gordon said, adding that the campus community of about 2,000 students is reeling from the news. Gordon said Colvin was at the mountain with two other members of the football team and another friend.

“The campus is still in a little bit of shock concerning this tragedy,” Gordon said. “Any student or faculty member who might be experiencing any emotional distress is encouraged to contact our counseling service center.”

Ski patrol for the area listed slope conditions for the day as primarily packed snow with spots of loose granular snow. The Carrabassett Valley Police Department and Sugarloaf Ski Patrol are investigating the accident.

Black-diamond trails such as Hayburner are considered difficult.

Colvin’s is the third skier death at the resort in the past three years. David Morse, 41, of Kingston, Nova Scotia, died in January 2012 after striking a tree. In January 2011, Joshua Waldron, 16, of Carrabassett Valley, died when he crashed into a snowmaking tower off Hayburner trail.

In a news release, John Diller, the resort’s general manager, said the resort community extends its sympathies to Colvin’s family and friends.

“We’re tremendously saddened to learn of the loss of a skier at our mountain today,” Diller said in the release. “Sugarloaf skiers and riders are a close-knit group, and a loss like this is felt throughout the community.”

Skiers at the mountain Tuesday reacted with shock at the death of a fellow skier but also said danger comes with the sport.

Bernadette Shea, 62, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, said she saw the ambulance at the base and was worried about who might have been hurt.

Shea said she provided in-house care for a woman in Nova Scotia for four years who had a serious back injury from a skiing accident, and the risk of a skiing accident is something she always takes into careful consideration.

Bo Miller, 26, of Farmington, said he has skied trails of the full range of difficulty levels, and the accident doesn’t mean the trail is particularly dangerous, but more that skiers should be careful.

“The same thing could have happened in Titcomb or at Shawnee,” Bo Miller said, referring to the small Farmington mountain and the larger ski resort in Bridgton. “Sometimes these things just happen even when you’re trying to do everything right.”

Shea said she thinks about how accidents can happen while skiing but also thinks about how accidents, even fatal ones, can happen during everyday activity.

“You know, it’s dangerous just getting out of bed every day in the morning,” she said. “I think about whether something could happen while skiing at my age, but you’ve got to go out and live your life.”

Staff Writer Jesse Scardina contributed to this report.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 kschroeder@centralmaine.com
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