The woman who was killed Monday while skiing on Aspen Mountain was stopped on lower Spar Gulch when she was hit by another female skier, authorities said Tuesday.
Natalie Egleston, 48, of Armore, Penn., died from a traumatic brain injury, according to the Pitkin County Coroner's Office. She also suffered cracked ribs from the accident, Deputy Coroner Eric Hansen said. The manner of death was ruled accidental, the coroner's statement said.
Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol received a report about the accident at 3:46 p.m. Monday and responded immediately, according to a statement from Aspen Skiing Co. "Two female skiers were involved in a collision on Spar Gulch just below where Jackpot exits," the statement said.
The ski patrol found one woman unconscious and unresponsive, and advanced life-saving procedures were undertaken, according to Skico's statement. Egleston was transported to an ambulance at the Lift 1A side of the ski-area base and taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, Skico's statement said.
"The other skier suffered minor injuries. Both skiers were wearing helmets," according to the statement.
Egleston was skiing with a male friend at the time of the accident, according to Deputy Jeff Lumsden. The woman who hit her was from New York City. Lumsden said the Sheriff's Office wasn't releasing the other woman's name or age Tuesday.
An investigator from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office visited the scene Tuesday morning and planned to return for the final sweep of the ski area by the ski patrol at the end of Tuesday to check light conditions at the crash site, Lumsden said.
Authorities also are looking for witnesses of the crash to come forward. Hansen said the witnesses are needed to reconstruct the accident. The skiing companion of Egleston saw a limited amount of the accident. Two or three other skiers might have witnessed it, Hansen said. The witnesses are urged to call the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office at 970-920-5300 to arrange to share their information.
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said he was told the victim might have stopped to clean her goggles. Hansen said Egleston definitely had stopped, but her intent isn't known.
Lumsden said the Sheriff's Office investigates tragedies like Monday's to see if there is a safety issue, first, and also to see if there was any negligent behavior or violation of the Colorado Skier Safety Act.
"Our first concern is public safety, and we want to make sure any incident of this gravity is investigated thoroughly," he said.
The skier who hit Egleston stopped to render aid after the crash and was cooperative with the ski patrol, according to Lumsden. She skied down to the base area along with members of the patrol when the victim was taken to an ambulance, he said.
DiSalvo said preliminary information suggested there was no criminal negligence on the part of the skier who struck Egleston. "This is just another tragic ski accident," he said.
Skico said in its statement: "The employees of Aspen Skiing Company are truly saddened by this tragic outcome and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family and friends."
This was the third snow sports-related death at the Aspen-Snowmass ski areas this season. Snowmass ski patroller Patsy Hileman was killed Dec. 30 when she triggered an avalanche in a permanently closed area within the ski area boundary. Caleb Moore died Jan. 31 from fatal injuries he suffered one week earlier while competing in a snowmobile event at the Winter X Games.
In addition, a skier at Aspen Mountain died after suffering a cardiac event Jan. 21. Australian businessman David Coe collapsed on Aspen Mountain and later died at Aspen Valley Hospital.
There has also been a death this winter off the ski area slopes. James Lindenblatt, 37, of Frisco, died Jan. 13 after he triggered an avalanche in the backcountry outside of Marble.