A full report from the B.C. Coroners Service on the death of an American man who died from a fall while skiing on Whistler Mountain Monday (Jan. 7) could take up to a year to be released.
Officials are still unclear on all the details of how Sean Miller, a 43-year-old man from Oklahoma, ended up falling 70 feet to his death. The coroner’s investigation is ongoing.
Shortly after 10 a.m. on Monday, Whistler Blackcomb Ski Patrol was notified of an injured male skier in the area surrounding Franz’s Meadows, said an RCMP press release. A ski patroller arrived on scene within minutes and found the man unconscious and unresponsive. CPR was administered before the man was pronounced dead by a Whistler Blackcomb doctor at 10:33 a.m.
“Our investigation revealed that he entered the cliff area from above,” said Whistler RCMP Sgt. Rob Knapton, adding that it appeared the man was skiing alone. “We found ski tracks up to the edge of the cliff up there, and as a result of injuries he sustained during the fall down the cliff he died.”
The man suffered “significant trauma” as a result of the 70-foot fall, said Knapton. He was not wearing a helmet.
Knapton also told The Oklahoman newspaper that Miller created a small avalanche when landing in two feet of snow, and travelled another 50 yards down the slope.
Because it appears the man was skiing alone, investigators are unsure if he was aware of the cliff or if he intended to make the jump.
“That’s the million-dollar question, whether or not he knew (the cliff) was there and whether or not he knew what was on the other side of where he was going, and I can’t answer that,” said Knapton. “Nobody can unless they were with him and knew what he was doing.”
Whistler RCMP contacted Miller’s next of kin, who described him as an advanced skier who was vacationing in Whistler alone, said Knapton. Miller is survived by a wife, but no other details about the deceased were immediately available.
Whistler Blackcomb is offering support to those involved with the incident and expressed their “sincere condolences to the family and friends for this sad loss,” in a press release Monday.
“Skiers and snowboarders are reminded to ski and ride with care and to pay close attention to all boundary and safety signage,” the statement read.