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March 18, 2014

Snowboarder dies at Whiteface

WILMINGTON — A snowboarder who struck a tree at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center on Sunday died of multiple traumatic injuries.

Essex County Coroner Francis W. Whitelaw, who released the autopsy results Monday afternoon, ruled Austin P. White’s death accidental.

White, 22, was not wearing a helmet, State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said.

The young man, from the Town of Livonia hamlet of Hemlock in Livingston County, was boarding with his sister and some friends on the Excelsior trail, she said. 

He passed them, the trooper said, then they came upon him moments later, just after he’d skidded off the trail and struck the tree a short distance into the woods, near the junction with Lower Northway trail.

“CPR was initiated by some civilian skiers, then it was taken over by the Ski Patrol,” Fleishman said.

White’s sister skied down the trail to find help, Olympic Regional Development Authority spokesman Jon Lundin said.

And others called 911, Fleishman said.

The SUNY Brockport student was carried off the mountain on a Ski Patrol toboggan then taken by Wilmington Rescue Squad ambulance to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

He was pronounced dead there at 1:12 p.m.

PACKED-POWDER CONDITIONS

White’s sister, whose name wasn’t available, told police her brother had several years of experience snowboarding.

The Excelsior trail is near the top of Little Whiteface, Lundin said — “one of our signature intermediate trails.”

The accident happened within the top third of the trail.

Conditions Sunday were groomed packed powder, Lundin said. On an average day — such as Sunday — there are 24 Ski Patrol members on the mountain, available to deliver help as needed, he said.

“Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family,” he said.

The post mortem on White was performed by Dr. C. Francis Varga at Adirondack Medical Center.

Email Suzanne Moore:smoore@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @editorSuzanne

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