Tragedy on the slopes: Two die in separate incidents at Vail, Breckenridge

By Real Aspen
Real AspenNovember 18, 2011
Tragedy marred opening day at Vail Friday as a 62-year-old Vail man lost control, skied off an embankment on a beginner trail and died of bodily trauma. Also Friday, a 20-year-old snowboarder died after crashing on an intermediate trail at Vail Resorts’ Breckenridge ski area.

The Vail Daily identified the Vail skier as Dr. Charles Tuft, president of Alpine Mobile Physicians. The Summit Daily News identified the snowboarder as Evan Massini, of Westbrook, Conn., a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder. He was first reported to be 19 years old.

At Vail, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) reports Tuft was skiing on Gitalong Road between the Columbine and Bear Tree trails when he crashed. He was wearing a helmet at the time.

“Vail Ski Patrol administered medical assistance, along with Eagle County Ambulance personnel,” according to an ECSO press release. “[Tuft] was taken to the Vail Valley Medical Center where resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. An autopsy has been scheduled for [Saturday].”

At Breckenridge, Massini died after a snowboard incident on the intermediate Northstar trail. Massini, who was wearing a helmet, was put on life support and transported by ambulance to the Breckenridge Medical Center, where he later died.

Both deaths, the first skier fatalities of the 2011-12 ski season, are still under investigation. Anyone with information about the Vail incident is asked to call the Eagle County Sheriff's Office at (970) 328-8500.


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