Pro freeskier Ryan Hawks died early Tuesday of injuries suffered during an extreme competition in Northern California. He was 25.
Hawks had been attempting a 40-foot backflip Sunday during the North American Freeskiing Championships at Kirkwood Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe. He fell upon landing and was airlifted to Reno's Renown Health Center, where he was being treated for internal injuries.
An official cause of death is pending an investigation, according to Reno's Washoe County Medical Examiner.
Dan Abrams, president of FlyLow Gear, which sponsored the athlete, told Outside magazine: "The comp was in full swing. All of the heavy hitters were skiing, but a lot of the guys were falling. There was an opportunity for Ryan to go all out get on the podium. He has a history of back flips and basically going for it in comps."
Hawks, a Utah resident originally from Vermont, belonged to a small group of Vermont-born athletes known as Green Mountain Freeride.
According to an ESPN report, Hawks' death is the third involving a competitive big-mountain freeskier in four years. It cited the 2008 death of John Nicoletta at the Freeskiing World Tour Championships at Alyeska in Alaska; and the 2007 death of Neil Valiton at an International Freeskiers Assn. event at Tignes, France.
For a helmet-cam glimpse of the Green Mountain crew in action, see the video:
-- Pete Thomas