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Death at 7 Springs

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

So, I know this isn't the major news story that some of the deaths at the big mountains are because it doesn't contain warnings about avis, closed terrain, etc. However, still another death on a mountain . . . always sad news.


7 Springs skier dies after hitting head on rock


Police are investigating after a 36-year-old man died in a ski accident at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

David McClelland, of Coraopolis, died Monday night when he lost control and entered a rocky, wooded area.

Witnesses said McClelland struck his head on some rocks and was knocked unconscious.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Somerset County coroner said McClelland's official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Friends and neighbors said McClelland was a nice person who enjoyed the outdoors.

"He liked sports. I always saw him with his snow gear. It's very sad," said neighbor Rebecca Smith. "It's just devastating."

The coroner said skiing fatalities at Seven Springs are rare.

 "All of us at Seven Springs are deeply saddened by the fatal accident that occurred last night.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to this gentleman's family and friends during this incredibly difficult time," the resort said in a statement.


post #2 of 21

Condolences to his family & friends. This hit's close to home.


Be careful out there and if you get the chance buy a patroller a beer.

post #3 of 21

Sad indeed.  I wonder if he was wearing a helmet?

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Sad indeed.  I wonder if he was wearing a helmet?

Local reports say he wasn't.

post #5 of 21

That's sad. I didn't think 7-Springs had enough snow this year to open off-piste terrain.  Was this area roped off or closed?

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

I don't think it was roped off or closed. 7 Springs is a pretty small resort. There are wooded areas between slopes that, with limited snowfall like we've had this year, don't get officially "closed," but don't get used because it's mostly bare. From the reports, it sounds like he was on a regular slope and then skied out of control into the wooded area and hit his head on a rock. Not sure how accurate that is. Those are just the reports we've had.

post #7 of 21

That's awful to hear.  I have seen more than my fair share of serious accidents this year including multiple collisions with trees and a friend who broke his femur in 3 places.

post #8 of 21

Given the weather we've had, there is no way that anyone could ski off trail in Pennsylvania. I think our annual total in the southern half of PA would be about 3 inches. My guess is that the incident began on trail, and the skier went off the trail into woods and rocks.


I got hit  from behind and on the side just last night from someone coming off an entering trail and ignoring the skier code, that sent me sliding into the trees and mud. She must have been headed right for her own crash into the trees at a pretty good clip as I was way off to the side of the trail as they merged. I knew I was lucky to not have any serious injuries but this incident is a reminder of how lucky I was. By the way, there was a big mud smear on my helmet - it did its job.

post #9 of 21

Does anybody know on what slope this accident occurred on? The glades between Stowe and Tyrol slope or Tyrol and Avalanche on the front side?


This is horrible tragedy occurring in a very lousy ski season at Seven Springs that makes things even worse now.


I over heard a conversation saying the skier was witnessed by people there that night making multiple runs in the area where his death occurred .



post #10 of 21

The news I saw said he shot off of Phillips Run, through the woods, onto Fawn lane, and into the trees on the other side.  I don't know how the hell you do that.  He must have been absolutely flying.  If it happened where I think it did, it is possible to ski it in an average/good snow year, but I doubt anyone would have tried to ski it this season, meaning he probably just lost control at a pretty insane speed for that area.  I'll try to get more info and check out the reported crash site on Saturday. 


Definitely sad, condolences.

post #11 of 21
Originally Posted by PaSucks View Post

The news I saw said he shot off of Phillips Run, through the woods, onto Fawn lane, and into the trees on the other side.  I don't know how the hell you do that.  He must have been absolutely flying.  If it happened where I think it did, it is possible to ski it in an average/good snow year, but I doubt anyone would have tried to ski it this season,



Under the lift?


post #12 of 21
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post



Under the lift?


The way the news guy explained it (using a trail map, but who knows if he got it right or not) it was where Phillips splits off of Fawn past the little terrain park.  I think if you look over the side of the trail at the bend, there are shots down to Fawn, but they can't be worth it right now.  Supposedly the guy ended up in the woods on the far side of Fawn above Wagner somewhere.  If the news guy had his story straight, it's hard to believe what this guy did.  That is a lot of distance to cover, the speed would have to have been insane.  It makes more sense if he were actually dropping in there with the intent of skiing down to Fawn and then lost control.  Just kind of hoping he wasn't being that stupid.  (I mean no offense to the deceased, regardless of decision making it is a tragedy and only call out the potential stupidity to make people think twice about what they do)

post #13 of 21

Sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.


I took photo below at 7Sprgs about 90 mins before the time of incident on 1/30.  Above the terrain park is a green circle run (Phillips) that switch-backs down the hill back and forth under the six pack chair.  Did the guy lose it in the woods cutting from one part of the green trail to the other?  There was only about one inch of natural snow cover off piste in most places on the mountain.  I wonder if this would have been one of those situations when a helmet would have made a crucial difference?  We'll never know.  RIP.


Copy of seven springs jan 12 101.jpg

post #14 of 21

I hate seeing these threads. My condolences to family and friends.

post #15 of 21

I did not see the incident occur (around 7:30 pm on 1/30/2014) but I took this cell phone photograph from the lodge window seconds after the ski patrol had removed Dave's body from the slopes while still performing CPR.  He was found lying at the top of the unoccupied beginner's slope to the west side of the magic carpet lift where the remaining first responders are still standing.  No rocks, just trees, a light post, snow-making padded columns, and a fence.  I checked out the area and found no logical reason for this occurrence.  Snow coverage was heavy.   A very sad turn of events.  My prayers go out to his family and friends.          

post #16 of 21

I think there is some confusion.  This thread is two years old, so there is no way you photographed it at the end of January this year.  Your date might be wrong as this is the only death I'm aware of in recent times. 1/30/2012?

post #17 of 21
You might be right about the 2012 date but I saw some laying lifeless on the slopes for at least 20 minutes,10 of which were CPR administered on Friday night (1/31/2014), and the ski patrol was still doing CPR while taking him down. Must have been a new incident. I should have looked at the date.
post #18 of 21
Edit- I didn't realize this was a 2 year old thread...
post #19 of 21

That's OK - if it hadn't been for the thread revival we wouldn't have been aware of gems such as this:


Police say murder charges pending against Maryland women arrested at Seven Springs

post #20 of 21

@vwscirocco unfortunately you were right.  The accident you saw was a Westmoreland County school nurse Fran Strane.  Her accident occured as you said on 1/31/13 at 8:40 and she died just this past Saturday.


Westmoreland County school nurse dies of skiing injuries

Fran Strane was nurse in Penn-Trafford School District

UPDATED 3:06 PM EST Feb 10, 2014

HARRISON CITY, Pa. —The family of a Westmoreland County woman says she has died of injuries suffered in a skiing accident at Seven Springs Mountain Resort last month.

Fran Strane, 52, worked as a nurse in the Penn-Trafford School District at Penn Middle School. She died Saturday at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, according to the Cambria County coroner's office.

"Not only was she an excellent nurse in her decision-making skills and her ability to give care, her organizational skills, but she also was very good with those who needed the emotional support," said colleague Betsy Sandala. "She just showed us how to be a better person and how to care for people genuinely."

Her funeral will be Thursday at her home parish, St. Barbara Catholic Church in Harrison City, where the Rev. Ken Zaccagnini described her as an active parishioner was a fixture at Sunday night mass and at Friday fish fries during Lent.

"She was missed last night and she will be missed for a very long time. She was very active in this parish. She just gave. She gave her heart; she gave her life," Zaccagnini said.

Roger Strane said his wife was downhill skiing by herself around 8:40 p.m. on Jan. 31 when she hit a fence.

"We were optimistic, prayerful, thoughtful and guarded in our feelings but we were also realistic. We were aware of the severity of the accident, but you always pray for miracles," Roger said. "I love her and I miss her tremendously."

The cause of death was a closed-head injury and a cervical spine fracture, and the manner of her death was accidental, the coroner's office said.

Fran Strane's organs were donated and were able to help one person in Minneapolis and two in Pittsburgh, Roger Strane said.

He added he hopes in the future he and his family will be able to take comfort in knowing she helped keep other people alive. "Right now, no. In the future, I think it will. Right now there's grieving going on," Roger Strane said.

"Our entire mountain family is deeply saddened by this tragic accident," Seven Springs said in a written statement. "We have been in constant contact with members of her family since the accident occurred and will continue to do whatever we can to help during this incredibly difficult time. All of our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to her family, friends and loved ones."

Edited by Cirquerider - 2/11/14 at 6:13am
post #21 of 21

Fran was a member of the 7 Springs family. Her husband, son, daughter and her daughters fiance are all patrollers. We ask for privacy and prayer at this time.......

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