Skier dies after hitting tree at Jackson Hole resort

2011-01-13T00:00:00Z Skier dies after hitting tree at Jackson Hole resortFrom staff and wire reports Casper Star-Tribune Online
January 13, 2011 12:00 am  • 

TETON VILLAGE -- An 18-year-old skier died after hitting a tree at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

The resort identified the man as Zephyr Rapinchuk, of Northampton, Mass.

A resort spokesman said Rapinchuk was found about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in a tree island and pronounced dead at the Teton Village Clinic, according to a resort media release.

It said he was found within the resort's boundary in the upper mountain area and that the ski patrol determined he had hit a tree.

Rapinchuk was last seen getting on the tram that climbs the mountain just before 3 p.m Tuesday, said Jackie Skaggs, a spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park.

She said officials were notified of his disappearance and began their search at 10 a.m., but suspended it at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. They continued their search in the morning until they discovered the skier's body in a tree island below Hanging Rock Traverse on the resort's upper mountain.

The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Ski Patrol, Teton County Search and Rescue and Grand Teton National Park Search and Rescue were involved in the search.

"All of us are saddened whenever anyone loses their life in the Tetons," Skaggs said.

Rapinchuk was on a winter break from attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Rapinchuk graduated from The Academy at Charlemont, Mass., last year, where he was the captain of the ski team. He photographed defunct ski hills in the area for a senior project, according to the Gazette.

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