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A Crested Butte teenager died Sunday after crashing on Copper Mountain while warming up for a competition.
Asher Crank, 17, was on skis and fell about 30 feet Saturday after going off a jump in the Copper Mountain terrain park, according to Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson. He landed on his head and was wearing a helmet.
Crank was flown to St. Anthony Central Hospital, where he died Sunday.
Copper Mountain issued a statement that a teen died while participating in a "sanctioned competition" on the mountain at the time of the accident.
The statement did not name the competition, although the Copper Series was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Crank was a student at Crested
Friends said Sunday that Crank was a top-rated freeride skier, well-known in the small snow-riding town for his personality and his skill.
He was "one of the most well-liked children in Crested Butte," academy headmaster Graham Frey said. "In fact, at the local pizza place, he has a pizza named after him."
Frey said Crank was "one of the best in the country" at free ride skiing - in which skiers launch off half-pipes and jumps.
Steve Taglialatela, 18, said he began skiing with Crank when they were 4 years old.
"His mom owned a ski shop called Butte and Company on the mountain. So naturally he just started skiing, and we skied together in a group called the Cyclones," Tag lialatela said. "He just wanted to be a pro skier, and that is what his life was all about."
Crank's family could not be reached for comment.
Crank was at a tune-up event for what was supposed to be the next big step in his career: the U.S. Freeskiing Open this week.
Frey said Crank was warming up for Saturday's competition, going through his routine for the third time that morning
"He was going over the third jump in a series, and he just real ly got too much air and couldn't get back around," Frey said.
Crank is featured on the Crested Butte Academy website with a note from his coach, Ben Somrak, who writes, "Asher has stepped it up this year with a new bag of tricks to show the crowd. ... His style was nearly unmatched and left the competition in the dust - a wonderful start to his big season of competitions."
Crank's death is the first at a sanctioned competition in Colorado since 2004, when 13-year-old Ashley Stamp collided with a snowmobile while inspecting a slalom course before a race at Vail.
Taglialatela had a hard time holding back tears as he
"I mean all four of us, since we were little, we would all push each other and have a good time. ... We knew each other's families well," he said.
Bad spills are part of life for athletes in freeride skiing. But Taglialatela said he figured Crank had just broken some bones when he heard about the accident. Then he got a call Sunday from Crank's father.
"He was always happy," Taglialatela said of his friend, "even when he was mad. He loved laughing."
'Freak' crash claims life of Crested Butte teen