Rebecca McGill, 16, of Barkhamsted, Conn., a student at the Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, died from injuries she received in a ski accident at Sugarloaf in Maine.
McGill was skiing on Spillway Tuesday when she apparently lost control, went off the side of the trail and hit a tree around 10:30 a.m., Sugarloaf officials reported. Ski Patrol responded immediately, gave first aid at the scene, and brought her down to a clinic at the base of the mountain.
An ambulance took her to the Carrabassett Valley Airport, where a Life Flight helicopter flew her to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where she died Wednesday of injuries sustained in the accident, officials told OnTheSnow.com.
Trail conditions Tuesday were groomed packed powder from a snowfall overnight, with clear sunny skies, Sugarloaf officials said.
McGill was at Sugarloaf with teammates from the Stratton Mountain School for Speed Week, a racing program that attracts top high racers from schools in eastern North America.
The team had reportedly arrived a day before their scheduled training and members were free skiing around the mountain.
Speed Week occurs over two weeks toward the end of January each year, the first for younger racers at the USSA level, the second for more experienced racers moving up into the FIS, or international, levels of competition, said Jim McCormack, Sugarloaf competition director.
"This week is a developmental, lower level speed race. It's still downhill, but it's a lot of kids who haven't done speed racing yet, or they're at the development stage, where speeds aren't up to what they're going to be next week. It's a steppingstone," McCormack said. "Next week is FIS, international level. We'll probably get some Canadians here, but it's mainly Eastern people," he said.
He said 50 racers are participating this week, and 180 next week.
"Sugarloaf has been running speed weeks forever. We've always done speed here, long before I came and this is my 21st year," McCormack said. All Speed Week events from training to equipment checks to races are held on Narrow Gauge, he said, with safety netting in place to keep racers safe.
Stratton Mountain School Headmaster Christopher G. Kalsas has not returned our call for comment.