‘Tragic loss’: Skier who died after crashing into tree at Wachusett Mountain has been identified

PRINCETON, Mass. — The skier who died after he crashed into a tree at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton on Monday morning has been identified, officials said.

The victim is 67-year-old John Lapato of Shrewsbury.

“It’s brutal,” said Jeff Crowley, president of Wachusett Mountain. “Some of the eyewitness accounts said he was moving right along pretty fast and he lost control and ended up sliding into a tree.”

The trail runs by the chair lift.

“There were probably about 20 people on the slope on both sides and we said, ‘what the heck is going on here? what are they doing.’ And then we saw the person,” said Paul Benker, skier. “It wasn’t very pretty.”

Skiers called 911 and got the ski patrol. The patrol started CPR before bringing Lapato to the base where first responders worked on him but were unable to save him.

“I was told his helmet cracked that would beyond a safe speed I would say,” said Michael Hovsepian, skier.

After seeing the commotion Michael Hovsepian stayed on the easier trails for a few hours.

“If things get away from you on a steep slope within one and a half seconds you could be doing a great speed,” said Hovsepian.

Oxbow Chute is a narrow trail between rows of trees and labeled a black diamond, a more challenging run.

“It’s very easy to ski today and you just go sliding, sliding so you have to be careful,” said Elizabeth Gallant, skier.

Lapato was skiing with a friend at the time. He skied here often but was not considered an advanced skier.

“It kind of scares you a little bit type of thing being a skier. It’s responsibility type thing for everyone skiing, but it happens and you hate to see that,” said Benker.

There were no additional details immediately available.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW