Longtime ski racer and industry insider, Sam Coffey, passed away Monday morning after suffering a stroke while on vacation in Mexico, according to reports. He was 29.
The Aspen Times reports that Coffey woke up last week with a headache and collapsed after taking a nap later that day. Coffey was immediately rushed to the hospital by friends. The Coloradan reportedly suffered several more strokes in the hospital and was in and out of a coma before passing away Monday morning.
Coffey grew up in Aspen and was a member of the Aspen Valley Ski Team in his youth. Coffey captured a National Junior Championship in super-G in 2007 and later went on to become an NCAA All-American with the University of New Hampshire. After his graduation in 2014, Coffey returned to Aspen and worked with several brands in the ski industry before rejoining his life-long friend, Wiley Maple, as his ski technician on the World Cup for the 2018-19 season.
Coffey and Maple, along with friend Baker Boyd, helped found “The Freaks,” a local Aspen ski gang that pays homage to Hunter S. Thompson’s influence on Aspen’s ski culture and the “Freak Power in the Rockies” slogan the writer used.
As news of his passing spread on Monday, tributes to Coffey flooded in on social media from family, friends, athletes, and industry figures, showing just how influential Coffey was to the greater skiing community.