Copper Mountain Ski Resort: Half-pipe where teens died was off-limits

The half-pipe at Colorado’s Copper Mountain Ski Resort where two sledding teens on spring break from Illinois were killed was off limits, company officials told the Denver Post on Tuesday, declaring safety to be their company’s top priority.

Summit County authorities were investigating the deaths.

The teens, aged 17 and 18, were sledding together on a single device down the constructed tubular half-pipe Sunday evening when they launched off a snowbank into the air, then landed hard on hard ice below the half-pipe, according to a statement from Summit County Sheriff’s deputies who went to the scene. The two received immediate medical attention but could not be revived and were pronounced dead.

On Tuesday, resort and county officials declined to name the teens who died in what Sheriff Jaime FitzSimon called “a tragic incident,” citing a desire to show respect for privacy.

“Safety is the top priority at Copper Mountain, and guests are required to observe all posted signs and warnings and not enter closed trails and areas. Copper Mountain closes all lift and trail access at 4 p.m. daily, including the halfpipe, which was closed and roped off at the time of the incident,” according to a company statement emailed by resort communications coordinator Olivia Butrymovich.

Sledding was not allowed in the area at the base of the ski slopes where the teens had ventured Sunday evening.

“Copper Mountain allows sledding in the Sledding Zone of its Green Acres Snow Play Area but does not allow sledding in base areas,” the company statement said. “Each base area has signs making the public aware of that prohibition.”

Summit County Sheriff and Coroner officials on Tuesday did not respond to queries.

Meanwhile in Fairbury, Illinois, Prairie Central High School officials posted a notice that grief services were offered at a local Baptist Church “to help students and staff deal with the tragic loss our school community has suffered.”

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