JACKSON - A well-known skier and Wilson firefighter died after a ski jump from a 45-foot cliff at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Witnesses said Brent Newton, 39, did not strike anything as he fell 45-60 feet Friday morning. He sank in deep snow upon impact, dying of a head blow and suffocation from collapsed lungs, according to Coroner Bob Campbell.
Skiers rushed to dig Newton out, and ski patrollers tried unsuccessfully to revive him.
Resort spokeswoman Anna Olson said the crash put a damper on the mood at the resort, where most skiers this time of year are Jackson Hole residents.
She said the victim was not part of a photo shoot but did attract a lot of attention as he pondered his leap at the edge of the cliff.
"He was on there for a substantial amount of time," she said. "He was looking, assessing the situation. A lot of people saw him."
Newton ski bummed in Colorado and California before moving to Jackson Hole in the late 1990s. He was married on the top of Rendezvous Peak, the summit of the ski area.
He leaves behind a wife and two children.