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Friends, fans hoping for freestyle skier's speedy recovery


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PARK CITY — The Canadian skier involved in a serious accident at Park City Mountain Resort Tuesday is still at University Hospital in critical condition. Friends and family are now with Sarah Burke, hoping for her recovery.

Neither the hospital, Burke's family, nor her publicist have released any new information on her condition. Her doctor did confirm the 29-year-old suffered serious injuries, and remains in critical condition in a coma.

At Park City Mountain Resort Wednesday, all skiers could think about was Burke's accident. "There's danger in everything that we do, especially when you're involved in an extreme sport," said U.S. freestyle aerialist Emily Clark. "In the ski community, all of us are thinking about her and sending love and sending prayers to her and her family."

The man who drove Burke to the resort Tuesday says there is a different feeling there now. "When something happens like this, you can tell it's definitely a different atmosphere," said Ryan Dunyon, a driver for Utah Mountain Shuttle.

Hundreds, if not thousands of Burke's fans went to her Facebook page to leave her messages.

Katie Nigbor wrote: "You are such an inspiration to female skiers all around the world. Wishing you the best for a quick recovery."

David Kido said: "Get well soon, Sarah. I look forward to seeing you back in the pipe to rep Canada at the Olympics, vibes."

Alexandre Bilodeau, a Canadian skier, wrote: "Thinking of you, Sarah, and stay strong. You're the best."

Burke is a four-time Winter X Games champion in skiing superpipe and was an important voice in getting the sport to be made into an Olympic sport, which will debut during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

The half-pipe at Park City is the same spot professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce was injured two years ago. He suffered severe brain injuries after slamming his head into the icy side of the half-pipe wall.

Just last week, Pearce went snowboarding again for the first time. He's doing a lot better now, but he doesn't think he'll ever compete professionally again.

"I guess, from what I hear, I never will remember what happened that day," Pearce said.

Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield, flew to Salt Lake from his home in Vancouver. He said this, "Sarah is a very strong young woman and she will most certainly fight to recover."

Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield, flew to Salt Lake from his home in Vancouver. He said this, "Sarah is a very strong young woman and she will most certainly fight to recover."

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Alex Cabrero

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