John Nicoletta, the Colorado extreme skier, reportedly lost control when he tried to ski off a band of rock called the Headwall,
Nicoletta died on Friday. He was reportedly on a run down the 3,939-foot home of the Alyeska Resort, about 40 miles south of Anchorage, when his planned route took him over a 20-foot cliff.
Nicoletta lost control as he landed, and tumbled into an area of exposed rocks a little before 4 p.m. Alaska time. A ski patrol from the resort was able to arrive within moments.
But it was too late.
Nicoletta was taken down the mountain in a toboggan, but could not be revived. He was 27.
"Freeskiing" is described by its sponsors as skiing's truest form of freedom of expression. There exists a start point and a finish gate for all competitors, but little else.
Nicoletta was well-known and respected in the "tight-knit" community surrounding the sport, said Cara Williams, spokesman for the sponsor of the Freeskiing World Championships.
In a biography posted on the Web site of the International Freeskiers Association, Nicoletta was described as an "ex-Eastcoaster" who now lived in in Colorado and coached "a Big Mountain Freeride team for the Aspen Valley Ski Club."
Nicoletta was one of 70 men and 26 women who were to compete at Alyeska. According to AP reports, the event has a purse of $12,500. Points are earned in the competition by making bold moves like jumping off cliffs or maneuvering through treacherous rock bands in the snow.
Nicoletta is featured in ski videos, both commercial and on YouTube (see below).
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