Edmonton student dies on ski trip

Grief counsellors are attending J. Percy Page High School in Edmonton after a Grade 10 student was killed on a school skiing trip.
Skyler Lockwood, seen in an undated photo posted on Facebook, was killed on a school ski trip in Panorama, B.C.
Grief counsellors have been called into J. Percy Page High School in Edmonton after a Grade 10 student was killed Monday on a school skiing trip to southeastern B.C.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, the student was identified as Skyler Lockwood, 16.

"He was a young lad who was full of life," said school principal Audrey Gibson, adding that he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

"Today has just been a tragic day for our school community," she said. "It was difficult to tell the kids and to tell the staff." Gibson also spoke with the youth's family on Monday.

Lockwood was taken off the hill in Panorama by helicopter and flown to hospital in Invermere, where he died.   

"We believe he might have hit a tree, but we're just finding out information right now," said Jane Sterling, a spokesperson for the Edmonton Public School Board.

The field trip began Sunday, with 34 students and three chaperones departing for what was supposed to be two days of skiing, returning Tuesday night. Earlier, school board officials had told CBC there were 35 students on the trip.

After the accident, students and two chaperones left Panorama for the trip back to Edmonton. They were expected back at the school Monday evening.

One chaperone stayed behind to deal with issues connected with the death.

"The students here [at the school], some of them have gone to see the crisis counsellors," said Sterling. "A department head of student services was one of the chaperones on the trip, so she’s with the students on the bus."

Friends described Skyler Lockwood, seen in an undated photo posted on Facebook, as a youth who was always cheering others up.
Students at the school learned about the accident on the school's internal television. Some, like Leeanna Shapka-Rolfe, couldn't believe it.

"At first I never thought it was true and once I heard it from the principal, she was actually crying [as she made the announcement]" she said.

Lockwood had become a friend, said Shapka-Rolfe, because of his good humour. "He was, like, very energetic, he would always make people laugh … and he would always make people feel better whenever they were sad."

"Hopefully he’ll be in everybody’s heart and people will remember him."

A Facebook memorial site has been set up to remember Lockwood and a ceremony is being planned for the school later in the week.

"We plan to set up an area in the school where they can write to Skyler and kind of deal with their emotions in that way to get closure," said Gibson.