The crash that took the life of a snowboarder at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Monday was a “pure accident,” investigators said Tuesday afternoon.
The snowboarder, identified as Callagy Fahey Ross, 23, was out on Moran, an intermediate run off of the Apres Vous lift, when she lost control and hit a tree, investigators for the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and Teton County Coroner’s Office said.
She went briefly airborne on a steep pitch of the run in the trees, hitting the tree at high speed. Moran is a wide blue run with steeper pitches, bordered by woods on both sides.
Visibility was poor at the time, which deputies said may have contributed to the accident.
Trauma to her head and torso from the impact killed her despite the helmet she wore, authorities said.
“It was a pure accident,” Teton County Deputy Coroner Chris Mooney said. “She just lost control.”
Ross had lived in Jackson Hole for five days when she was killed. A “very experienced” snowboarder according to deputies, she’d moved to the area last week from the Boston area to spend the winter working at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Ross was hired in the resort’s ticket office last week, resort spokeswoman Anna Cole said.
A group of skiers witnessed the accident and tried to help Ross, as did the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol. They were unsuccessful.
Ross grew up in Stowe, Vermont, and worked in public relations in Boston before deciding to spend a winter in the mountains, according to information provided by her family.
“To know Callagy was to witness true beauty and share in a vibrancy that made all happy to be around her,” the Ross family said in a written obituary. “As challenged by her beloved family, Callagy thrived on forgoing any but essential spending in order to adventure together, whether scuba diving in the Caribbean, trekking near the Matterhorn or mountain biking in Slovenia.”
Along with a love of snowboarding and mountain biking, Ross was a passionate sailor, her parents said.
In 2010 she survived the sinking of the Concordia, a Class Afloat of Nova Scotia ship. She was spending her senior year of high school aboard the three-mast topsail schooner, an experience her family said taught them all that “every day is a miracle to spend wisely and with love.”
Her family asked that any memorials be given in the form of donations to one of three charities: Vermont Works for Women, the Burton Chill Foundation or the University of Vermont sailing team.
The charities promote opportunities for women, sports opportunities for low-income children and college-level competitive sailing at Ross’ alma mater.
“We want to offer our sympathy to her friends and family certainly,” John Bishop of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort said. “It’s a tragedy when something like this happens.”
Resort spokeswoman Anna Cole included a safety reminder that current conditions make the mountain unpredictable in spots even if, as was the case with Ross, a skier or boarder is doing nothing wrong.
“Early season conditions exist right now,” she said. “It’s already a very interesting snowpack and things can be unpredictable right now. We would just remind people to be mindful that there is always risk associated with skiing.”