Student Dies in Skiing Accident

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

A student at Michigan Technological University has died following an accident on Mont Ripley Ski Hill.

Robert W. Smith, 18, of Norton Shores, was skiing at about 4:30 p.m. Friday when he apparently lost control, went off the run, and hit a tree. First aid was provided by the ski patrol, which transported him down the hill. He was taken by Mercy Ambulance to Portage Health System, where he was pronounced dead.

"This is devastating for all of us here at the University," said Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. "Our hearts and prayers are with his friends and especially his family as they struggle to cope with this tragic loss."

Smith, a mechanical engineering major and 2007 graduate of Mona Shores High School, was an experienced skier and a member of the University's ski team club.

Michigan Tech's Public Safety Department and officials at the ski hill have investigated the accident and will submit their findings to the state's Ski Area Safety Board.

University Counseling Services is providing grief counseling to Smith's friends in West McNair Hall, where he was a resident, and to the rescue workers who responded to the accident.

A visitation will be held Thursday, Feb. 7, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Clock Funeral Home, 1469 Peck St., Muskegon MI 49941. Services will be held on Friday Feb. 8, 11 a.m., at the Laketon Bethel Reformed Church, 1568 W. Giles Road, in North Muskegon. Condolences can be sent to the Rob Smith family, in care of the Clock Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions can be made in Rob's memory to the Mt. Ripley Ski Patrol in care of the Michigan Tech Fund, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton MI 49931.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.