Freeskier Sam Jackenthal Dies After Crash in Australia

The 16-year-old from Park City succumbed to injuries sustained at training camp

Sam Jackenthal, 16, claimed the freeskiing combined title at the USSA Junior National Championships. PHOTO: Courtesy of the Sam Jackenthal Fund
Sam Jackenthal, 16, claimed the freeskiing combined title at the USSA Junior National Championships. PHOTO: Courtesy of the Sam Jackenthal Fund

Team Park City United athlete and freeskiing champion Sam Jackenthal, 16, died October 1 from injuries sustained during an accident in Australia on September 8.

The accident occurred while Jackenthal was attending a ski camp at Perisher Resort, causing him to lose consciousness. He remained in a coma while hospitalized until his death last Thursday.

His father, Ron Jackenthal, shared the devastating news via Facebook post on the Team Park City United (TPCU) page.

“We are heartbroken to share that Sam passed away late last night in Australia with his immediate family at his side,” he wrote. “We believe that while his physical body is no longer with us, his light and spirit will continue to shine bright and bring happiness to us all, just as he always has.”

At the time of the accident, a group of athletes was skiing between training sessions at the resort when Jackenthal crashed, according to news reports.

“This was nothing more salacious or interesting than an accident, which is really sad,” TPCU executive director Ryan Walsh told a Salt Lake City news station. “These guys were skiing at the resort. They were skiing in bounds and they were at part of the resort where they skied a handful of times before.”

In March, Jackenthal claimed the freeskiing combined title (slopestyle, halfpipe, big air) at the USSA Junior National Championships.

His longtime coach Chris ‘Hatch’ Haslock said family and close friends surrounded Jackenthal at the time of his death.

“Sam brought light and love to everyone who knew him—he made their lives better than before they met,” Haslock wrote on the club’s Facebook page. “I am comforted knowing that Sam’s life was full of everything he loved. He lived to the fullest with passion and enthusiasm—an unabashed love for life.”

At the time of the accident, a GoFundMe account was set up to collect funds for Jackenthal’s medical care as well as travel expenses accrued by his family who flew to Australia. The account, which is still open, has raised nearly $108,000.