Natalie Egleston skiing death: No charges in collision that took her life on Aspen Mountain

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More photos below.
Earlier this month, we told you about the skiing accident that took the life of Natalie Egleston, a Philadelphia-based executive, during a visit to Aspen Mountain. She was struck by another skier, subsequently identified as Virginia Chen, age 53.

The district attorney with jurisdiction in Aspen investigated the case with an eye toward possible charges against Chen. But in the end, no counts were filed, largely because of the difficulty in determining precisely what led to Egleston's death.

According to a Pitkin County Sheriff's Office investigation cited by the Aspen Times, Chen, a New York City resident, had merged onto the Spar Gulch trail from another run, Copper Bowl, at a point known at the resort as Grand Junction. She subsequently hit Egleston, who'd skied down another trail, Jackpot (an expert run), and was standing in place, waiting for a friend.

Both women were wearing helmets, and Chen suffered only minor injuries as a result of the collision. However, Egleston was knocked to the ground and was badly injured. She was transported off the mountain by members of the ski patrol, then raced to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead as a result of a traumatic brain injury.

Sherry Caloia.jpg
Sherry Caloia.
In the end, though, 9th Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia decided that there wasn't enough evidence to support either a criminal recklessness or negligence accusation against Chen due in part to the fact that "there isn't much evidence at all about what happened," the Times quotes her as saying. Why not? Neither Chen nor Egleston's friend could provide details about precisely what took place. In Caloia's words, "Both say all of a sudden there was a crash."

And a tragic one at that.

Update 2: We reached out to Brian Egleston, Natalie's brother, to get his response about the lack of charges in the incident. "Most family members, including myself, have been focused on mourning my sister's death," he notes via e-mail. As a result, he continues, "I have no opinion about the charges, because I do not know all of the details. However, the district attorney and the sheriff's office have been very communicative and open with my family. I cannot definitively speak for my whole family, but I appreciate their openness, and I think that my family does as well."

He adds that news of Natalie's death triggered an outpouring of grief and good will. "I estimate that over 300 people attended Natalie's funeral events on February 12 and 13," he notes. "Friends and family came from California, Oregon, Arizona, Michigan, Europe and elsewhere to attend the funeral. We are all very sad about Natalie's death. It was very unexpected and a shock to everyone."

Look below for our previous coverage.

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Egleston.
Update, 6:57 a.m. February 6: We've now got more information about the passing of Philadelphia's Natalie Egleston, who died Monday while skiing with friends on Aspen Mountain -- the third official skiing-related death at a Colorado resort this season.

Egleston was reportedly standing in place when she was struck by another woman skier in a collision that turned out to be lethal.

This information comes from the Aspen Daily News, whose article includes information from the Aspen Skiing Company, which owns Aspen Mountain; a representative of the business didn't return our calls yesterday. Spokesman Jeff Hanie tells the paper the accident took place at about 3:45 p.m. Monday about 100 yards or so from a spot known as Kleenex Corner.

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Egleston's Facebook profile photo.
The circumstances? Pitkin County Coroner's Office rep Eric Hansen reveals that Egleston was standing in place, waiting for a friend, when she was struck by an unidentified woman from New York City who apparently didn't see her; there's some speculation that Egleston was in a shadowed area, and her dark clothing made her difficult to see.

The NYC skier suffered only minor injuries, and both she and Egleston were wearing helmets. An investigation is underway to determine if the surviving woman was skiing at an unsafe speed. But at this juncture, the incident looks like a terrible fluke -- the sort of crash that shouldn't have ended with someone losing her life, even though someone did. The cause of death is listed as a traumatic brain injury.

Egleston's LinkedIn profile lists her as the president of Indoor Direct LLC, a marketing company. She attended Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, and Cornell University. Yesterday, her brother Brian told us she recently returned to the Philadelphia area after living in San Francisco for a time.

The official statement from the Aspen Skiing Company reads in part: "The employees of Aspen Skiing Co. are truly saddened by this tragic outcome, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family and friends."

Continue for our previous coverage of Natalie Egleston's death on Aspen Mountain.


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8 comments
ryanjohnsmith1013
ryanjohnsmith1013

Out of state skiers should be made to pass a proficiency test akin to one's high pro-file golf courses require.

When was the last time a CO native was the subject or victim of a death on the slopes ?

This is why surfers in Hawaii patrol their breaks with force; because they don't want to be killed due to someone else's fuc**** arrogance.

artistinaspen
artistinaspen

Update from Aspen, from an AK attorney:  "SkiCo is the largest employer in Aspen and surrounding area. SkiCo sets the level of income in the area. SkiCo sets the level of rent for housing in the area. If you live in the area and want to ski, but don't want to travel miles and miles away, you must patronize SkiCo. If you want to access the National Forrest in you own backyard, you better make sure you have the permission of SkiCo. You want to speak in glowing terms about your employer, SkiCo? Go right ahead. You disagree with or don't like aspects of your employment with SkiCo? STFU. Or be fired. Maybe sued.


I live in a place some would call a "company town," too. Certainly a much bigger and more lucrative company owns this town... Walmart. That said, I'd choose this place over Aspen and SkiCo any day because Walmart isn't interested in controlling the lives of the residents here and, based on the protesters I see on occasion, Walmart isn't interested in controlling the free speech of others.

Yes, SkiCo is a bully. Congrats... the more SkiCo tries to control thought, action and speech of it's employees, the more negative publicity SkiCo gets."----  http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20130214/NEWS/130219938&mode=comments

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg topcommenter

I'd sue the resort !

I'd find the biggest prick lawyer EVER,  below 5,300 feet, and sue that entire fucking mountain !

( Don't you hate those kind of people if they're not related to you,  or close friends ?!! )

Roy Medina
Roy Medina

BAN!! Assault Skies-- Demand a Plan.

Eileen Lambert
Eileen Lambert

Accidents happen. It's sad but there was no malintent. And I'm positive the other skier is punishing herself more than enough. I'm happy to see that the family isn't pressin for this - they even see that charging the skier won't change the outcome.

Laura Kovach
Laura Kovach

If a person decides to stop on a run and wait, they should move to the side so things like this do not happen. If yr in the way of other skiers and riders, accidents are more likely to happen. No charges should ever be placed on accidents such as this.

Teddy Liebowitz
Teddy Liebowitz

I'm friends with some people in Patrol on Ajax. Its definitely kind of sketchy regarding exactly what happened, but overall it definitely sounds like she was responsible for what happened and was reckless.

blegleston
blegleston

@Teddy Liebowitz  Hello Teddy- Which party do you think was responsible? 

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