Alcohol played role in woman’s death on Apex Mountain

Coroner determines hypothermia caused the death of Apex employee last winter

Alcohol was a contributing factor in the accidental death last winter of an Apex Mountain Resort ski lift operator, a coroner has concluded.

Benoite Camille Mireille Marye was found dead early on Feb. 27, 2012, lying in the snow in a wooded area near her temporary home.

Coroner Gerard L. Maddock determined the 31-year-old woman’s death was accidental and attributed it to hypothermia. Marye was a French national who, along with her boyfriend, began working at the ski hill in the fall of 2011.

According to the corner’s report, Marye and her boyfriend were seen arguing at an employee function at the resort on Feb. 26. The two left separately and Marye, who had been drinking throughout the evening, was dropped off by friends around 11:30 p.m. just 40 metres from the unlocked entrance to the Strayhorse Inn, where she was staying.

Around 1 a.m., an area resident heard “the sounds of French language groaning and moaning” outside his home, but received no response when he went out to investigate, the coroner wrote. At 7 a.m., another person spotted Marye’s lifeless body in the snow and called 911.

The coroner noted that she was discovered about two metres off a pathway and just a single set of “erratic and meandering” footprints was found in the snow.

Marye was clothed in jeans, a shirt and snow boots and had a scarf wrapped around her hand, however, the coat she was seen wearing earlier in the night was found a short distance away.

Overnight, the temperature bottomed out at -21 C and “the clothing would not have offered protection from the cold weather conditions,” the coroner wrote.

An autopsy found no signs of foul play and no anatomic reason for death, so the coroner concluded hypothermia most likely claimed her life.

He also noted that autopsy results showed Marye’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit for driving and said that level of impairment would have caused her body to lose heat more quickly than a sober person.

Apex Mountain Resort manager James Shalman did not respond to requests for comment.