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Meetup Organizer Tells His Side of Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Accident

On February 26, 2016, Terry Sanderson, myself, and several others attended a group ski event I had organized through Meetup.com. The venue was Deer Valley, Utah. Mr. Sanderson had attended some of my previous ski meetups. I found him to be an experienced, knowledgeable, intermediate-level skier.

Our day was just getting started. We were working our way to some intermediate and advanced terrain via a beginner run called "Bandana." Ski school was in full swing. The hill was awash in pre-teen beginner skiers donning their Deer Valley ski school bibs. I kept my head on a swivel and navigated the sea of young obstacles with caution.

At about the midway point, I faintly heard the scream and crash. It happened behind me, on the skier's right side of the slope. I was slightly downhill from the collision on the skier's left side of the run. At first, I was uncertain of what I had just heard, saw nothing on my glance back, and continued down the hill. After waiting for about 15 minutes at the bottom of the run with no sign of Terry or Craig Ramon, it became clear that there was a serious problem.

There are at least two major issues that could have contributed to the collision. I will first consider Mr. Sanderson's medical issues, specifically the loss of vision in his right eye. At previous meetings, when discussing his condition, I was a bit surprised that he still participated in the sport. Regardless, I never witnessed him skiing in anything less than a safe manner.

Ms. Paltrow's mention that she was following her children in ski school gives me great concern. As a former instructor, I can attest that instructors *hate* when parents do this because it distracts everyone involved.

In sum, the accident was likely caused by a confluence of factors...crowded slopes, medical issues, and distracted skiing.

About the author:

Kurt Leininger is a former ski instructor and web developer