Extreme Skier, Considered a Rising Star, Dies After Cliff Jump

By Beacon Staff

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – An extreme skier being filmed Tuesday in the backcountry of Big Cottonwood Canyon jumped a cliff, landed in a rocky area and died from his injuries.

Billy Poole was flown to University of Utah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:30 p.m. MST, spokeswoman Vickie King said.

Poole, 28, was sponsored by Salt Lake City-based Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., maker of ski and climbing gear. Chief executive Peter Metcalf described him as a rising star among big-mountain skiers.

“His stature was increasing. He was inspiring, outgoing, friendly — the perfect ambassador for a company like Black Diamond,” Metcalf said. “He lived the life of big mountain skier on just enough money to support his habit.

“In this sport,” the executive said, “death is part of life.”

Poole cartwheeled through some rocks after jumping off a cliff in an area known as Wolverine Cirque, said Penn Newhard, a Black Diamond marketing consultant.

He was being filmed by crews for ski documentarian Warren Miller, said Jay Burke, a spokesman for Solitude ski area. Ski patrollers at Solitude were the first to reach Poole after the fall.

Black Diamond’s Web site says Poole learned to ski in Montana. Some of his exploits are posted on YouTube. He also participated in the Levitation Project, a film with skiers and snowboarders.

He recently told the Web site, www.biglines.com, about escaping an avalanche while in a helicopter last winter with other skiers and a film crew in British Columbia.

“Not to be dramatic, but there is no reason we should have made it home at all that day. … I now know that any one of my friends could be gone in an instant and it has made me very thankful for the time I have with them,” Poole said.