â Man hits tree in accident at WhitefaceLAKE PLACID — A Peru man died Saturday as the result of a midday ski accident at Whiteface Mountain.Rejean Ouellet, 53, was skiing on Whiteface's expert-rated Upper Northway trail when he slipped and fell, sliding along the edge of the trail and into a tree, according to an eyewitness account given to Sandy Caligiore, a spokesperson for the Olympic Regional Development Authority.After being transported by ski patrol to the base lodge, Ouellet was taken by Wilmington Rescue Squad to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid where he was pronounced dead.Ouellet was wearing a helmet and New York State Police investigating his death said family and friends described him as an "advanced" skier, but not an expert.State Police Investigator Brian Sypek was told Ouellet was not conscious at any point after the accident.Caligiore said witnesses told him Ouellet's condition "looked very bleak when he was at the mountain."A news release from ORDA says the official cause of death was labeled "multiple system trauma," but Sypek said that is speculation since an autopsy has yet to take place.Caligiore said an eyewitness who was farther down the mountain saw Ouellet start sliding and attempted to give him instructions on how to stop or recover.Caligiore said conditions were excellent on the mountain Saturday and had been all week, but that it might have been lightly snowing."This (accident) comes as somewhat of a surprise," he said.The death was the first as Whiteface since last March, when a Swedish professional snowboarder was killed during a training run for a snowboardcross competition. A Maryland man died on the mountain a week later. That man was also skiing on the Upper Northway trail."It's a tragedy, it's an awful thing," Caligiore said.He said there had not been any deaths at the mountain for several years before the two that occurred last March."It's the last thing you want to think about when you go to a ski area," he said.
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