Skier dies training for race
January 27, 2007
A Draper skier, well known locally as part of Park City Mountain Resort’s Masters racing group, died after a wreck at the resort on Wednesday.
Brett Pendleton was 49 years old and crashed off the resort’s popular PayDay run, PCMR said.
"It was his whole life. He did ski every day and came home and worked on his skis for two or three hours," his widow, Shawna Pendleton, said.
She said he was a lifelong skier and a lover of adventure sports. He was an accomplished hang glider, a paraglider and a skydiver, notching 7,500 jumps in his life. They lived in Draper so he could paraglide outside the house. He was a troubleshooter for Rocky Mountain Power, known as a ‘lineman.’
But he especially enjoyed skiing, she said. The family never lived in Park City but they skied locally for about a decade and he was in the Masters group for about five years.
She remembered ski days with the family.
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"He was the most beautiful skier on the mountain," Pendleton said. "You had to ski 9 to 4 with no lunch, no drinks. My poor kids had to do that their whole life."
On Friday afternoon, an estimated 300 skiers descended PayDay in unison as a memorial. Dolly, Pendleton’s cocker spaniel, trotted down the run with the skiers.
"Brett didn’t get to race today and he wanted to . . . Everybody was thinking about the time they shared with Brett," Bill Skinner, a longtime friend, said after the memorial ski run. "I felt him on my run down the course. He was out to beat me this weekend. He was with us today."
The resort remembered him as a Masters skier and as a member of PCMR’s volunteer safety patrol.
"His job was working weekends . . . so he could ski five days a week," said Krista Parry, the resort’s spokeswoman, adding that the Masters skiers are driven athletes. "I think it’s the passion of those guys."
In a prepared statement, Peter Curtis, the resort’s president and general manager, said he was an "accomplished skier" and "world-champion paraglider."
"We have lost an important member of the Park City Mountain Resort team," he said.
The resort said ski patrollers received a report that Pendleton was missing at about 4:40 p.m. Patrollers found him seven minutes later in a strand of trees on the skier’s-left side of PayDay, a slope rated as an intermediate, about halfway down the run.
PCMR reported patrollers stabilized him at the scene and took him to the base area. An ambulance took him to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City and he was pronounced dead there, according to PCMR.
Parry said the patrollers found him near a tree but the resort is unsure if he struck the tree.
His widow said Pendleton was preparing to compete in super-G and giant-slalom competitions scheduled this weekend at PCMR. She said he crashed on a super-G run. He completed three runs on the course earlier in the day, she said.
"I think he just caught an edge," she said.
The training runs were in the morning and Pendleton likely crashed at 8:45 a.m., she said.
She said she is unsure why there was a delay between the crash and his discovery late in the afternoon and why people at the bottom of the racecourse were unaware he did not complete the run.
She said he was wearing a bright yellow ski suit.
"I want to know where he was no one could see him all day long," she said.
Parry said few people ski on the side of PayDay where he crashed because it has an awkward fall line for skiers. She said nobody witnessed the crash and nobody saw him afterward.
"It’s not an area that’s highly skied," she said, adding, " Unless you were skiing on the edge of PayDay, you wouldn’t see where he was located."
The Pendletons were married for 28 years and they had two daughters, ages 20 and 18.