Dean Cummings is being described as a "ski celebrity," a "skiing legend," a "big mountain pioneer" ... and an accused murderer. As Outside Online reports, Cummings, a former US Ski Team member, went a bit off the grid after winning Powder’s Line of the Year by conquering "a seemingly un-skiable peak called the Tusk, near Alaska’s Thompson Pass," in 2012. The websites for his heli-skiing company and line of ski gear disappeared; in 2019, he published a series of YouTube videos detailing conspiracy theories. Then, on Tuesday, the 54-year-old was arrested in San Luis, New Mexico. Cummings grew up in New Mexico but hadn't lived there in years; he had been living with his family in Alaska. Police arrested him outside a mobile home where a man was found dead.
Cummings had called police the Saturday prior to his arrest and claimed that Guillermo Arriola attacked him and he shot the man in self-defense. Police found Arriola inside the mobile home, an AR-15 outside, and Cummings outside in new clothes (he had left the scene and changed, they say), refusing to identify himself. He said Arriola sprayed a chemical in his face, but police say there's no evidence of that or of any type of struggle, though they did find pepper spray at the scene. Per the Albuquerque Journal, police say the altercation took place during a dispute about property Cummings was attempting to purchase. Cummings was at one point ranked No. 1 in US freestyle skiing and No. 2 in North American freestyle skiing, and Outside notes that "some thought he had a chip on his shoulder because [Doug] Coombs received more attention and accolades than he did." (Read more murder stories.)