Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Pro extreme skier Billy Poole killed during filming in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Professional extreme skier Billy Poole died this afternoon after taking a fall while filming in Big Cottonwood Canyon between Solitude and Brighton ski resorts.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Jaroscak said the 28-year-old died around 1:30 p.m. at University Hospital. Poole was filming a jump, had a bad landing, and possibly hit some rocks, Jaroscak said. Earlier reports of an avalanche in the area were false, he said.

Poole was filming in the area with Boulder, Colo.-based Warren Miller Entertainment. A spokesman reached at the company's corporate headquarters said the company is still trying to learn details about the accident and will release a statement later today.

Poole was one of dozens of skiers sponsored by Black Diamond, a ski and climbing equipment distributor in Salt Lake City. The company's Web site includes an interview with Poole about a trip to Argentina, where he skied and filmed over the summer.

Penn Newhard, a public relations specialist for Backbone Media, which represents Black Diamond, called Poole "a hard working" athlete who was well-liked on the ski circuit.

"He was highly regarded as an up and coming and talented young athlete," said Newhard, noting Poole was a "super personable young man." Poole was making a name for himself on the slopes and was a positive ambassador for Utah's ski scene, said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah --the state's ski and snowboard association.

"It's really sad news," Rafferty said. "He was a phenomenal athlete and a great representative of Utah's ski community."

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