Man dies in Deer Valley mountain biking accident |

Man dies in Deer Valley mountain biking accident

A man died in a mountain biking accident at Deer Valley Resort on Saturday, the Park City Police Department said, indicating the force of the impact was great enough to crack his helmet.

Richard Benjamin Schmutz was 41 years old and from Layton, the police said.

Rick Ryan, a police captain, said the department received the report of the accident at 1:22 p.m. on the Holy Roller trail. Ryan said nobody witnessed the accident, but several people came across the scene shortly afterward. Ryan said a man and his son took a break from a ride and saw Schmutz pass them just before the accident. He was not riding at an excessive speed at that point, the man and son told the police, Ryan said.

The man and son continued down the trail a minute later and found Schmutz on the ground, he said. Deer Valley’s bicycle patrol was contacted and patrollers arrived within four or five minutes. They performed CPR before medical personnel arrived, Ryan said. Mountain patrollers and Park City Fire District personnel who responded to the scene transported him off the slopes. The Fire District attempted additional life-saving procedures before Schmutz was pronounced dead, according to Ryan.

Ryan said it appears Schmutz died of blunt force trauma, including severe trauma to the head.

Deer Valley has long offered an extensive trail system for lift-served mountain biking and hiking. The Holy Roller trail is a relatively new one. The resort considers Holy Roller a “flow trail” and it is rated beginner, according to a release that was issued as the trail debuted.

A Deer Valley official indicated information about the accident would be provided by the Police Department.

While mountain biking is popular in the Park City area, drawing cyclists to resort terrain and a wider trail network on public and private lands, many recognize the risk of the sport. Charlie Sturgis, who is the executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation, said he considers activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing to be safer than mountain biking. He said mountain biking is “the most dangerous thing I do.”

“I still don’t think anything compares to mountain biking,” Sturgis said, describing the sport as “mixing speed with terra firma.”

He said a mistake can be made even on a beginner trail.

“People seriously underestimate the potential for serious injury in mountain biking,” Sturgis said.