Skier killed, likely after hitting rock, at Crystal Mountain

A 40-year-old woman died skiing at Crystal Mountain Resort last week, resort officials confirmed Monday.

There were no witnesses, but Ngoc-Han Thi Van died from blunt force trauma, according to officials in the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office. An off-duty member of Crystal’s ski patrol found Van’s body shortly after the Dec. 16 accident.

Van was skiing on a beginner run called Tinkerbell when she likely lost control and veered off the trail, said Paul Baugher, director of Crystal Mountain’s ski patrol. She was wearing a helmet, and Baugher said the trail was within her skill set. She likely hit a rock well off the trail, Baugher said.

“Helmets are a good thing, and we definitely recommend them,” Baugher said. “Unfortunately, they are not a guarantee.”

It’s been a slow season for the regional ski industry with lighter than normal snow coverage on lower slopes. While this can leave rocks and other obstacles exposed, Baugher said that was not a factor in this accident.