Rockville man killed in skiing accident

January 20, 2013

A 40-year-old Rockville man was killed in a weekend skiing accident in western Maryland, authorities said.

James Jungjin Park ran into trees while skiing Saturday at the Wisp resort in Garrett County, the Associated Press reported, quoting the county sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office, according to the report, said Park lost control before running into the trees. Sheriff Rob Corley could not be reached by telephone Sunday night and did not respond to an e-mail.

An executive of the resort, reached by e-mail, confirmed the death but could not immediately provide details.

“We don’t know” exactly how the accident happened, said Michael Kim, a friend and business associate of Park’s, who had been skiing with him. “He’s not a reckless person,” Kim said.

Kim, who was reached Sunday night at Park’s home, described him as a husband and father of two children. Park was a “very good skier” who loved the sport and was on a family ski trip when the accident occurred, Kim said.

Kim said Park “couldn’t stop smiling” during the Wisp outing and was looking forward to enrolling his wife and children in a ski class.

Park had been skiing under lights Friday night, and on Saturday morning, Kim said, he and Park and another friend rose early to take advantage of an opportunity the resort offered to ski before the snow became heavily tracked.

Kim said he reached the bottom of the run first.

The second friend said Park passed him on the way down. After a turn, the friend expected to see Park ahead of him. When he did not, he looked around and spotted Park lying near the base of a tree, Kim said.

The friend began waving his arms for help, Kim said, and Park was quickly taken to a hospital, but never regained consciousness. Park died shortly after arrival at the hospital, Kim said.

He said Park had been wearing a helmet.

Park was born in South Korea and came to the United States as a boy with his family. They settled in Northern Virginia, and after attending the University of Virginia as a member of the ROTC, Park served on active duty in the Army, Kim said.

According to the LinkedIn Web site, Park had been a manager/controller for Mobil Oil for five years, before working in development asset management for the Mills Corp. He spent more than five years with Wells Fargo as a relationship manager before joining Kim in a commercial real estate investment and asset management firm.

Skiing fatalities in the Washington region are relatively rare. The modest slopes are not conducive to high speeds.

“It’s just a tragic accident,” Kim said.

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