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  • Jason Varnish, a 46-year-old man from New Jersey, died at a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, after slipping through an opening in a chairlift and becoming caught in his coat.
  • Eagle County coroner Kara Bettis told the Vail Daily that Varnish slipped through a folding seat on a chair lift and died of positional asphyxia when his coat became wrapped around his neck.
  • An initial investigation found that Varnish's seat on a lift at the Blue Sky Basin section of the Vail Ski Resort had been upright instead of folded down, according to NorthJersey.com.
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A 46-year-old man from New Jersey died at a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, after slipping through an opening in a chairlift and becoming caught in his coat.

The man, identified as Jason Varnish, died of positional asphyxia, Eagle County coroner Kara Bettis told the Vail Daily.

Varnish, of Short Hills, New Jersey, had fallen through a gap in the chair's folding seat at the Blue Sky Basin section of the Vail Ski Resort. His coat then "ended up going around his head and neck area," Bettis told the Vail Daily.

Ski patrol performed CPR before Varnish was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, NBC News reported.

The death has been ruled an accident.

"We are still investigating how this whole situation happened. According to our initial investigation, the deceased slipped through the seat of the chair lift and his ski coat got caught up in the chair," coroner Kara Bettis told Vail Daily last week.

According to NorthJersey.com, an initial investigation found that Varnish's seat had been upright instead of folded down, leaving a gap in the seating area.

Blue Sky Basin was closed for 24 hours after the incident but has since re-opened.

"The lift has been thoroughly inspected and is operating normally," the resort said in a statement to NBC News.

Vail Ski Resort is conducting a full investigation into what happened.

"Vail Mountain and the entire Vail Resorts family express our sincere condolences and extend our support to the guest's family and friends," Vail Resorts CEO Beth Howard told Washington Post.

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