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Old 03-06-2009, 09:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Aspen Snowboard instructor dies hitting tree.

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ASPEN, Colo. -- A snowboard instructor has died after colliding with a tree at Buttermilk ski area near Aspen.The Pitkin County coroner's office said 30-year-old Chris Polk died of multiple injuries shortly after noon Thursday. Polk was an instructor for the Aspen Skiing Co. but wasn't working Thursday. Company spokesman Jeff Hanle said Polk was snowboarding through some trees on the Columbine run and wasn't wearing a helmet when the accident occurred. The coroner said he sustained multiple injuries, including blunt trauma to his head, chest and abdomen.
Rest of the story here.

I know the helmet thing could become part of the discussion here. Let's please keep it civil. Friends and family often find these threads in their searches to find some understanding of this sort of tragedy.

My condolences to his friends and family.

RIP Chris Polk
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What is to keep civil? It's a sad story, but one that isn't as uncommon as we would like. Best wishes to his friends and family.
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Based on his injuries and the time it took him to arrest, I doubt a helmet would have saved him.

Helmets aren't magical save alls. They offer a very thin impact cushion. They're main focus is to prevent bleeding. You need just over 3g's of force to create a fatal head injury. Look inside your snowboarding helmet. Which part of that looks like it's going to absorb 3g's of impact?

They're still a good idea though. A good helmet can be the difference between a nasty concussion and death.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
What is to keep civil? It's a sad story, but one that isn't as uncommon as we would like. Best wishes to his friends and family.
It's the 'I told you so' mentality some helmet diehards are going to comment with against those who don't think helmets do much and are an 'annoyance'.

He could have caused trauma to his heart or major organs also, and not a direct head impact. The article doesn't state a direct cause of death so it's pointless to say specific impact gear would have helped save him until more info is revealed.

Definitely not cool to hear about someone dying during boarding, though.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Definitely not cool to hear about someone dying during boarding, though.
No, definitely not.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow, that really sucks. The worst part is that accidents like this happen all the time.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wouldn't say all the time, but they happen frequently enough. From the sounds of it the rider was on an intermediate slope and then somehow slammed into a cache of trees. The main reason I believe this is that someone saw it happen from a lift. Almost every collision death in Colorado has one thing in common. They were on an intermediate run. I am not sure if I can remember a death on a black diamond, and I think the girl who died in the freak accident was on a green. Otherwise, it's the middle of the road runs that are the killers. If you are on a black diamond run or truly riding in the trees, you generally don't pick up enough speed to get killed. Sure you can get jacked up, but the speeds are generally lesser than at what you can cruise on a blue groomer.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
If you are on a black diamond run or truly riding in the trees, you generally don't pick up enough speed to get killed. Sure you can get jacked up, but the speeds are generally lesser than at what you can cruise on a blue groomer.
I completely agree on that... The more difficult the terrain the more careful you are navigating it. Even using myself as an example, I was out at Copper last season and the worst fall I took was due to me charging on a blue and trying to cut into the trees off to the left of the run. I washed out on my edge smashed my shoulder into the tree and the base of my board into another. I was lucky I didn't seperate my shoulder and snap my board. Earlier in the day though we were up at the near summit riding those steep natty, bumpy runs off to the left that are fed by an older double lift and due to the grade and challenge of identifying the line I needed to take there I rode significantly more under control.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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sad story
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow, sad story. I love riding in the trees, but this is why I don`t ride in them much faster than about that of a brisk jog. Speed reduction is your best defense in the trees. Slow down and enjoy a longer ride through the trees.
Good advice, live to do it again.
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