For the most part, skiing is safe. But sometimes, tragedies can occur even when folks engaging in one of Colorado's signature pastimes take the recommended precautions.
Case in point: The Friday death on Vail Mountain of Dr. Charles Tuft, a 62-year-old who appears to have done everything right but perished anyhow.
Tuft was one of the main docs at Alpine Mobile Physicians, which offered house-call care in the Vail Valley. Tuft's bio on the outfit's site boasts some serious credentials:
• Vail Valley Medical Center Emergency Physician • Chief of Emergency Medicine at Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Denver from 1984-1997. • Former Delegate to the Congress of the Colorado Medical Society • Board Certified Emergency Medicine • Board Certified Holistic Med, Home owner in the Vail Valley since 1991 • Everest Expedition Physician
This last item is particularly intriguing. As noted by the Vail Daily, Tuft was an expert on altitude sickness who'd served as a Mount Everest expedition doctor -- an indication that he had tremendous experience in mountainous environs.
Moreover, a Eagle County Sheriff's Office release notes that Tuft was wearing a helmet at the time of his accident, which took place on Gitalong Road, a beginner's trail -- which suggests he hadn't attempted to tackle a run that was beyond his capabilities.
Nonetheless, Tuft apparently went off an embankment and sustained bodily trauma that proved fatal.
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At this point, there's been no announcement of services for Tuft, but the Vail Daily item linked above contains a slew of tributes to a skier who died on the slopes despite putting safety first.
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More from our News archive circa November 2010: "Scott Kay, Wolf Creek Ski Patrol director, dies in avalanche."