WINDHAM, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A Long Island community is mourning the death of a teen after a skiing accident at Windham Mountain.

The 18-year-old suffered head injuries after losing control and crashing into a tree – and there are questions about whether the tragedy could have been prevented, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“It’s very sad and it’s awful, that’s all I can say,” the victim’s aunt, Christine Fay, said. “She was a beautiful girl…We love you, Erin.”

Dozens of relatives and neighbors cars filled the cul-de-sac in front of Erin Malloy-McArdle’s North Bellmore home during an outpouring of love. The honor student and athlete was killed when she skied into a tree at Windham Mountain in the Catskills.

“[Erin’s parents] are just overwhelmed – it’s a tragic loss,” Erin’s uncle, Timothy Fay, said. “Pray for them – that’s all we can do.”

As most experienced skiers will tell you, downhill speeds on many slopes can accelerate quickly. Erin, who was a novice, lost control and crashed into a hardwood tree.

“She was a great girl, and something like this just happens and it just blows everybody’s mind,” friend Emily Joy said. “It’s really sad, and it hurts.”

Windham Mountain’s president said they’re shaken to the core, adding the cornerstone of the responsibility code is to “ski within your own ability.”

Erin was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. It’s not a requirement in New York State, but expert skier Rob Altiner of Long Island’s Sno-Haus thinks it should be.

“When helmets first came out, it was ‘not cool’ to wear a helmet,” Altiner said.

With so many options for color, fit and venting options these days, though, “there really is no excuse for not wearing a helmet,” he said.

Last year, there were 38 skiing and snowboarding deaths nationwide, and half of the victims were not wearing helmets.

“I was knocked out, with a concussion, with a helmet on,” skier Mark Salmin said. “If I wasn’t, I’d probably be dead.”

Erin was scheduled to have had a scholarship meeting Monday at Adelphi University. Instead, her school, Mepham High School, will be holding grief counseling in the morning.

Windham Mountain has not had a fatality in more than 15 years. The resort rents and sells helmets.

Jennifer McLogan

Comments (16)
  1. Victoria Discon says:

    So very Sad I did not know Erin but do know the Krudis Family and was very close with Kevin (her GODfather) & Kelli. My twins who are 17yrs old Ski and Snowboard regularly here in PA. And I do stress the importance of wearing a helmet to them but unfortunately we cannot see what they are doing at every moment. Erin was a beautiful girl and my thoughts and prayers are with her family. PLEASE WEAR YOUR HELMETS WHEN SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING. Kelli my prayers are with u hunny.

  2. Chris says:

    i just heard today about this tragic event. i found out from my gf’s mother. erin was a good friend of my gf’s cousin. i was planning on going snowboarding with my gf today as well but was sick and decided to cancel. my gf rented a helmet for the first time 2 weeks ago when we went and sure enough she fell and hit her head hard on the icy slope. helmets are very important to wear. id never go again without mine.

  3. Charlie DeGenaro says:

    great girl she will be missed god only takes the best and she is one

  4. Jane Martin says:

    I am a good skier; I have been skiing for 40 years. I bought a helmet on a ski trip to Alta two years ago — visibility was awful and I was worried about hurting myself. Sure enough, two hours later I had a spectacular crash in which I landed on my ski pole handle, broke two ribs, tore a bunch of muscles in my right arm and hit my head hard on the right side. I am convinced that had I not had on a helmet, I would be pushing up daisies today. I wear a helmet all the time now, and I love it. It’s warm, comfortable and it could save your life. Wear a helmet — and show your respect for this young woman who died.

  5. Colleen says:

    It is a tragic accident, Erin was a great beautiful young lady. My heart goes out to al. her family and friends.

  6. dennis Hl says:

    “It’s called making a ‘personal choice’…” I assume you would like to repeal the seatbelt laws as well which have saved millions of lives over the years. Getting beyond the tragedy to this young girl which is beyond words, what you “personal choice” folks don’t understand is that these type of “personal choices” result is major injuries which drive up the cost of health care to everyone who is insured.

    1. geri joy says:

      I agree that personal choice is Extremely important in the USA.- as it should be. But as a mom, I wouldn’t be very upset if ski facilities made helmut wearing mandatory. I love my kids, who happen to be Erin’s older friends, and I wish Erin could still be with us…..I also know that a helmut might not have made a difference, but I wouldn’t holler too loud if my skiers were made to wear one. Erin would have looked cool in anything she wore. This hurts so bad. Kids, please know how much you all are loved. Be smart, be careful.

  7. LB says:

    Since ski areas are private for the most part they certainly can take it out of the hands of individuals and require helmets at their areas. Having skied most of my life without a helmet, but now wearing one for about 5 years i wouldn’t ski without it. It’s warm, i don’t have to worry about a hat choice if one at all and i ski fast with one more safety precaution like wearing a seat belt.

  8. Zach says:

    I have recently started skiiing/snowboarding and everyone I knew made fun of me or laughed when I wanted to rent a helmet. Out of the group of 20 people, 10 were first-timers and not one wore a helmet because no one wanted to stand out. You cant blame her..poor sweetheart just went to have a fun day with her friends. How terrible…

  9. janet says:

    This is such a sad time for you and youre family my thoughts are with you all.
    Knowing youre family here in Ireland, my heart goes out to you at this sad time my prayers a with you. Love the Renaghan family

  10. pogo the clown says:

    Very sad. Prayers and condolences to the family.

  11. dave says:

    Tragic accident..My heart goes out to her family and friends

  12. Steve M. says:

    I’m sure Chuck Schumer will weigh in right on schedule….

  13. Steve M. says:

    With so many options for color, fit and venting options these days, though, “there really is no excuse for not wearing a helmet,” he said……Yes there is…I don’t want too..It’s called making a ‘personal choice’….Now lets quickly get to the knee jerk mandating of helmets for all skiers…

    1. mt says:

      I’m with you. It’s sad this happened but people fall down and die crossing the street too. should we mandate helmets to leave the house?

      1. geri joy says:

        mt. I’m sorry. I meant to hit the “reply” button, but I hit the “report comment” button by mistake. Now here’s my reply, and you won’t like it…..YES, please wear a helmut everywhere. The people who love you, one’s you might not even acknowledge, want you to be safe and healthy. So, I say, wear a helmut in the SHOWER (as long as you are still there for your “people.” Erin was my neighbor, a beloved member of our community. Every kid in our area knew her and loved her. We are devastated. Where helmuts, seat belts and condoms whenever there’s a risk to your personal well-being. Know that you are loved.

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