Boston teen dies in ski accident at Pats Peak

Monitor staff
Published: 3/27/2023 7:25:34 AM

A 15-year-old Boston student died Saturday night from a skiing accident at Pats Peak ski area in Henniker.

The tenth grader was identified by his East Boston school, Excel Academy, as Christopher DiPrima. “Christopher was a kind and caring person who brought joy to everyone he met. He will be truly missed,” Excel Academy Charter School wrote on Facebook.

He is the third skiing death in New Hampshire this year, following a 15-year-old who died at Gunstock and a 21-year-old UNH student at Cannon, both in January.

Lori Rowell, a spokesperson for Pats Peak Ski Area, reported that the skier was injured around 6:35 p.m. Saturday on the Duster trail, an intermediate trail with night skiing. He was taken to Concord Hospital by Henniker Rescue Squad, where he died from his injuries.

Pats Peak General Manager Kris Blomback called the accident a terrible tragedy and declined to discuss it in greater detail, aside from saying that DiPrima “did not collide with another skier.”

“Our sympathies go out to his family during this difficult time. The staff of Pats Peak is saddened by the incident last night and the investigation is ongoing,” he said in a statement.

The investigation is being handled by the site’s Ski Patrol and insurance carrier. “Our local authorities (Police and Rescue Squad) are certainly part of that conversation as most members of our (ski) patrol have dual membership,” Blomback wrote to theMonitor.

The accident came as ski areas are starting to wind down for the season as the weather warms. Pats Peak suspended daily operations Sunday afternoon aside from uphill travel routes. The resort had said before this weekend that it would assess whether it would reopen for one final weekend.

Most New Hampshire ski areas will close for the season by early April as people’s attention turns to warm-weather recreation.

A Monitor analysis found that between 2007 and 2017, the state medical examiner ruled on 18 deaths that happened to a downhill skier or snowboarder. Two-thirds of them, or 12, happened in March, with the rest scattered during the rest of the skiing season.

Deaths from downhill snow sports are extremely rare. During the 10-year period, New Hampshire alpine ski areas reported more than 21 million total skier and snowboard visits, working out to one death for every 1.23 million visits (a visit being one person spending one day at a ski area).

By contrast, more than twice as many people died while hiking in New Hampshire’s mountains over that period, and approximately 100 times as many people die due to accidents on state roads.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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