Keystone snowmaker drowns

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Ski Area Management

A Keystone employee who was part of the resort's snowmaking team drowned in a freak accident early Monday morning while working on the snowmaking system.

At just after 5 a.m., Ben Bornstein was working in a snowmaking shelter, a cylindrical structure that encompasses air and water pipelines, when the shelter became filled with water. Members of the resort's snowmaking team responded immediately, followed by the Snake River Fire Department, who rescued the employee from the shelter and transported him to the Summit Medical Center, where he died. An autopsy revealed that death was caused by asphyxiation due to drowning.

An investigation into the cause of the accident was begun almost immediately. Keystone was said to be working closely and cooperating fully with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Given the tragic nature of the accident and the effect on the rest of the snowmaking crew, Keystone has provided counseling to Bornstein's colleagues. "Our employees, especially the snowmaking team of which Ben was part, continue to feel the shock and grief of losing a colleague and friend," said Chuck Tolton, director of mountain operations for Keystone.