Vermont ski community pulling for injured racer
By CRISTINA KUMKA Rutland Herald Staff | July 18,2009
The shocking news of up-and-coming alpine racing star Cody Marshall's tragic fall off a Utah escalator reverberated through Killington-area communities Friday, drawing prayers and hope from those close to the family of competitors.
Coaches and friends of the prominent Marshall family of Pittsfield — Mom and coach Barbara, father and ski instructor Don, and four children, three of whom claimed coveted spots on the U.S. Ski Team — expressed their condolences over the Wednesday night accident that landed Marshall in the trauma ward of a Salt Lake City hospital.
"He is a great guy, he is a tough guy and a fighter," said Tom Sell, Marshall's U.S. Ski Team coach last year and head of men's alpine at Killington Mountain School.
"I'm hoping he continues to fight … I know he will."
The 26-year-old remained in critical condition at the University Hospital on Friday suffering from a serious head injury that Tom Kelly, vice president of communications for the U.S. Ski Team, called a "grave situation."
"I don't have a new medical update," Kelly wrote in an e-mail from the ski team's headquarters in Park City Friday morning.
"But we're also in the phase where I wouldn't expect anything to change. I take that as a good sign," he wrote.
Marshall plunged 20 feet from an escalator in Park City's Main Street Mall late Wednesday after a night out with his teammates.
Marshall attempted to slide down the handrail of the out-of-order escalator but instead fell backward off it, according to Kelly and Park City police.
He was conscious and responsive when first responders arrived at the mall but his condition worsened in the hospital throughout the day Thursday — downgraded from serious to critical.
Marshall hails from Pittsfield and extensively trained in alpine racing in the Killington area with his two siblings, Chelsea and Jesse, according to Fred Coriell, a family friend and owner of Peak Performance ski shop on Killington Road.
Marshall trained at Burke Mountain Academy before being named to the U.S. Ski Team three years ago. The late-blooming racer is technical, dedicated and talented, according to Sell.
Marshall placed third in the slalom at the 2009 U.S. Alpine Championships in Alaska, took three Europa Cup Podiums for the U.S. men's team and a second place slalom award at Monte Pora, Italy.
"Not everybody makes it to the top at age 18," said coach Sell.
"Some guys plug away at it and Cody did it from outside the system and you got to have respect for a guy that could do that with that determination," he said.
"All we can hope is that that determination pulls him through."
Now the family has gathered in a Utah hospital room hoping for a recovery.
Marshall's friends have started a Facebook page for those wishing to post get-well wishes.