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skier killed on chairlift
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Skier killed on chairlift

Several ski resorts announced they will be closing operations until further notice in response to COVID-19. (FILE PHOTO -Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

VAIL, CO — A skier was killed on a chairlift at Vail Ski Resort in Colorado.

Resort officials say Jason Varnish, 46, of Short Hills, NJ, died while riding a chairlift in the resort’s Blue Sky Basin last week.

A local coroner says Varnish died of positional asphyxia after slipping through the seat of the lift, his ski jacket becoming stuck in the chair, and the jacket then wrapping around his head and neck. It’s believed this cut off Varnish’s airway.

The Aspen Times reports witnesses saw Varnish’s folding seat in the upright position, instead of being folded down. Ski patrol responded and attempted CPR, but Varnish was later pronounced dead at a nearby medical facility.


Vail resort sends its condolences to Varnish’s friends and family. It adds that an investigation is ongoing.

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