National Junior Skier Dies from Head Injury

“It is our hope that his incredible drive, compassion, and passion for life can inspire others to live life to the very fullest.”     Photo: Ron Jackenthal

National Junior Skier Dies from Head Injury

After being in a coma since September

Sam Jackenthal, a 16-year-old U.S. Ski and Snowboard (USSA) Junior Nationals champion who suffered a head injury while skiing at Perisher Ski Resort in Australia on September 8, died on Thursday, according to a statement from the boy’s father on Facebook.

“We believe that while his physical body is no longer with us, his light and spirit will continue to shine bright and bring happiness to us all, just as he always has,” Ron Jackenthal wrote. “It is our hope that his incredible drive, compassion, and passion for life can inspire others to live life to the very fullest.”

Sam was a member of Team Park City United in Park City, Utah. Longtime coach Chris “Hatch” Haslock told Outside that Jackenthal was skiing with friends in-bounds when he over-rotated off a jump and struck his head on the landing. He was later put into a medically induced coma.

“I am comforted knowing that Sam’s life was full of everything he loved,” Hatch wrote on the team Facebook page. “He lived to the fullest with passion and enthusiasm—an unabashed love for life.”

  Photo: USASA

A GoFundMe page was set up following his injury. It has raised more than $108,000 for medical and living expenses.

“On behalf of Perisher Ski Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and the entire Vail Resorts family, we extend our deepest sympathy to Sam’s family, friends, and fellow teammates of Team Park City United,” Kelly Ladyga, vice president of corporate communications for Vail Resorts Management Company, which owns Perisher, told Outside.

Watch highlights from Jackenthal’s final season below:


Daddy Daughter Dance

Johnny Strange (left) died in a wingsuit accident in the Swiss Alps on Thursday.     Photo: sportiqe / Flickr

Johnny Strange Dies in Wingsuit Accident

23-year-old crashes in Swiss Alps

On Thursday, 23-year-old adventurer Johnny Strange died in a wingsuit crash in the Swiss Alps, according to CBS News. Swiss police spokesperson Gusti Planzer said that Strange—who was a subject of the 2011 Outside article “Into Teen Air”—jumped from Mount Gitschen, in central Switzerland, and crashed shortly after. 

In 2010, Strange finished climbing all of the Seven Summits at age 17, making him the youngest person to do so at the time. 

Planzer said there were strong winds on Mount Gitschen at the time of the accident, though the official cause of Strange’s crash has not yet been released, Fox News reported.


Easter Island

Chile creates 243,630-square-mile marine reserve off the coast of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.     Photo: Nicolas de Camaret / Flickr

Chile Creates Easter Island Marine Reserve

Announced at Our Ocean international conference

On Monday, the Chilean government declared a 243,630-square-mile marine reserve off the eastern coast of Easter Island, according to Yahoo News. The announcement was made at the Our Ocean international marine protection conference in Valparaiso, Chile.

“The Easter Island park protects one of the last near-pristine ocean wildernesses on Earth,” Joshua Reichert, of Pew Charitable Trusts, told Yahoo.

At the same conference, President Barack Obama announced a 14-square-mile protected area off the coast of Maryland and an 875-square-mile protected area in Lake Michigan, according to the AP. Both of these new American marine sanctuaries are intended to protect historic shipwrecks, some of which provide habitats for endangered wildlife. 

“Our economies, our livelihoods, and our food all depend on our oceans,” President Obama said in a video message shown at the conference, the AP reported. “Yet we know that our actions are changing them. Greenhouse gas emissions are making our seas warmer and more acidic. Marine pollution harms fish and wildlife, affecting the entire food chain. Illegal fishing depletes the world’s fisheries.”