Injured skier is recovering, mother says; resorts asking everyone to use caution

Jan 3, 2024, 6:42 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2024, 9:27 am

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s a tradition for Karyn Ferran’s Utah family to go skiing right before Christmas.

They decided to visit Brighton Resort for a day of fun.“We have been skiing for many, many years,” Ferran said. “It was Dec. 16. We were headed up the mountain and it was just a gorgeous bluebird day.”Only, this day turned into a memory they wish they never experienced. Her daughter, 27-year-old Sydney Ross, was involved in a collision with another skier on her run.

The person who hit her just kept going.

“They did not come to see how she was doing,” Ferran said. “From what we know, did not check in with ski patrol.”

Karyn Ferran speaks with KSL TV’s Alex Cabrero about a ski accident involving her daughter that left her in critical condition. (Winston Armani, KSL TV)

Aftermath of the crash

Ross was knocked unconscious.

Her mother remembers rushing to her as fast as she could.

“It was traumatic,” Ferran said. “She was face down. I didn’t know if she was dead. She was life-flighted to the University of Utah where she was in critical care for three days.”

Ferran says her daughter was on life support for a short amount of time while in critical condition.

Ross suffered a traumatic brain injury from the collision and had seizures afterward.

It is part of a rising trend in catastrophic injuries at U.S. ski resorts.

Ski crashes by the numbers

According to the National Ski Areas Association, there were 53 catastrophic injuries last season, which is higher than the 10-year average.

According to the report, speed is often what led to these crashes.

Most of the crashes involved trees and terrain.

Fatalities are also rising at ski resorts.

According to the report, 46 people died last season, which is also more than the 10-year average.

Speed was the top factor in fatalities as well.

Safety tips

It has led to safety campaigns across the country.

Resorts are asking everyone to follow three tips to be safer.

  • Be Ready
  • Stay Alert
  • Plan Ahead

Resorts are asking skiers and snowboarders to slow down and avoid objects and other skiers. Skiers and snowboarders are also being asked to know what’s going on around them, ease up at blind spots, check uphill when merging trails, and give others space when passing.

“We have noticed it is just more congested at the resorts than ever before,” Ferran said. “I don’t know how you regulate that, but I think it’s something to be aware of.”

Brighton Resort marketing director Jared Winkler said they have ski patrollers out all the time at high-congestion areas reminding skiers and snowboarders to slow down.

Winkler also says Brighton supports the Snow Angel Foundation, which is a charity dedicated to skier safety after 5-year-old Elise Johnson was killed at a resort in 2010 after being hit by a snowboarder.

The snowboarder died as well.

Ski Utah also recently launched a skier and snowboarder responsibility code to address safety concerns at Utah resorts.

Road to recovery

Ferran’s daughter is now back home.

She’s expected to make a full recovery but has at least a year of rehabilitation. She won’t be able to drive for at least six months because of her seizures. Her work will also be affected as well.

Family members have started a GoFundMe page* to help with medical bills they know are coming.

“The fact that this happened, it just breaks my heart,” Ferran said.The Unified Police Department is investigating the crash and is still trying to find the person responsible for the collision.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Injured skier is recovering, mother says; resorts asking everyone to use caution