A bit of showmanship is always expected at Copper Mountain Resort’s annual Slopesoakers pond-skimming event, but no one was prepared for one man’s disastrous attempt to ski jump over a crowd of spectators Saturday afternoon, reports Summit Daily.
Hayden Wright, 26, was descending a run shortly after noon when he launched into the crowd, breaking a woman’s collarbone and causing several other injuries. Authorities now say they expect to charge him with felony assault.
“It was not even close,” said Chris Allison, who was standing in the crowd and hit the deck as Wright flew toward him. “You’d have to be Red Gerard and not drinking to clear that.”
Allison said Wright approached him before the accident, Bloody Mary in hand, and told him that he was going to try jumping the crowd. Allison and another woman who heard him were struck by the absurdity of the idea.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘There’s no way he’s actually going to try that sort of thing, right?'” Allison recalled.
Ski patrollers rushed to the scene and started treating people, but no one called 911, Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. But when deputies arrived on the scene roughly an hour-and-a-half later, they found Wright at a ski patrol building, where several witnesses had filled out statements. They cited Wright for misdemeanor assault, not yet knowing that a woman had been seriously injured.
The crash caused a roughly 15-minute delay in Saturday’s festivities at Copper Mountain. It also put a damper on the event’s traditional “Best Crash” award.
“We understand that, uh, ‘Best Crash’ could be approached in many different ways here today,” an announcer said. “Fortunately, everybody has walked out with heads held high.”
All of the victims walked away on their own power, but one woman was later found to have a broken collarbone. Under Colorado law, assaults are typically elevated to felonies when a victim suffers a serious bodily injury.
Wright posed for a photo before the crash holding a Bloody Mary. While they know he was drinking, investigators don’t have a precise measure of how intoxicated he might have been.