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New Year's Day Ski Lesson Turns Fatal for 10-Year-Old Girl

'Life will never be the same for our family'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2017 5:30 PM CST

(Newser) – A 10-year-old girl is dead following a ski accident during a lesson Sunday at a Michigan resort, People reports. Delaney O'Connell of Illinois has been skiing at Crystal Mountain since she was 3 and was with two other students and a ski instructor at the time of the accident. A spokesperson for the resort says Delaney was a Level 4 skier, "which means her skill and control far exceeded the terrain." The spokesperson says "she may have caught an edge or slipped a little bit" before hitting a tree. According to a Facebook post from her family, Delaney hit the tree so hard it "cracked" her helmet.

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Delaney was unconscious when she was taken to the hospital and later died of cranial cerebral trauma. "We are heartbroken," her family says. "Life will never be the same for our family, and we will miss our dear, sweet Delaney every single day." On Wednesday, Delaney's school was decked out in purple ribbons in her memory, WLS reports. Her principal tells the Chicago Tribune she was an "articulate and very wise" girl who "was always quick with a hug" and "loved leaving notes for her teachers." Delaney's was the fourth death in the 60-year-history of Crystal Mountain and the first during a lesson. (Read more ski accidents stories.)

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