Skier killed after striking tree at Keystone |

Skier killed after striking tree at Keystone

Caddie Nath
Summit County Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A Centennial husband and father was killed Sunday when he collided with a tree while skiing at Keystone Resort.

Sean Bender, 38, was skiing Prospector, a blue run, at approximately 11 a.m. when he hit a tree and was killed, according to a statement from the Summit County Coroner’s Office. He was taken to Keystone Medical Center following the accident. Coroner Joanne Richardson was called in at approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Bender died of blunt force trauma to the chest, the statement says. He was wearing a helmet.

He leaves behind a wife and 9-month-old daughter. Public records show Bender is a longtime Florida resident who also previously lived in Summit County.

Bender was chief operating officer and vice president of insurance operations for The Madison Group, a financial services firm in the Denver Tech Center.

His company biography said he had worked as a financial advisor for 10 years in Colorado and Florida and had a degree in political science from the University of Florida.

Bender is the first death at a Summit County ski area this winter and the fourth skier killed in Colorado this season.

On Dec. 3, an off-duty Aspen Skiing Co. employee, Kiera Tongish, 22, of Aspen, died when she struck a tree at Snowmass Ski Area.

Two other skiers have died due to avalanches.

Kyle Shellberg, 32, of Golden died Dec. 5. He was buried for about 20 minutes after he triggered a backcountry slide at Dry Gulch in Clear Creek County.

Ski patrol Director Scott Kay was killed Nov. 22 at Wolf Creek Ski Area during work to reduce the potential for dangerous avalanches in an in-bounds area.

Bender is the first person killed at Keystone since March 2008, when Michael Howe, 43, of Andover, Kan., skied into a tree, marking the fourth death at the resort that season. A record 17 skiers and snowboarders were killed on Colorado slopes that year.

Denver Post reporter Joey Bunch contributed to this report.

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