Fifth reported death this winter at a Tahoe ski resort

TRUCKEE - A Bay Area man was killed Sunday while snowboarding at Northstar-at-Tahoe, officials have confirmed, marking the fifth reported death this winter stemming from an incident at a Lake Tahoe ski resort.

On Tuesday, Paul Schmidt, chief deputy coroner for Nevada County, identified the snowboarder as Jeffrey Halperin, 30, from San Fran-cisco. Schmidt said the cause of death is still unknown.

Schmidt said Halperin's body was found upside down in a tree well; initial review of the incident points to either death by blunt force trauma or by suffocation.

According to a press release issued Monday afternoon by Northstar Spokeswoman Jessica Van Pernis, ski patrollers and officials with the Northstar Fire Department were alerted of an unconscious snowboarder at 10:38 a.m. Sunday; they found the man lying by a cluster of trees near the Challenger ski trail.

According to Northstar, patrollers said upon first contact they administered emergency medical care to the man, who was not wearing a helmet. The man was later pronounced dead after being transported via CareFlight to Tahoe Forest Hospital.

Van Pernis said the information was not released on Sunday due to parent company Vail Resorts' policy to not proactively send out statements regarding incidents that occur at Northstar.

Halperin's death is the fifth reported death this winter stemming from an incident at a Lake Tahoe ski resort.

On Dec. 30, 2010, rescue crews found the dead body of Shawnte Marie Willis, 25, of Tahoma, in a backcountry area southwest of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. Author-ities said she crashed into a tree while snowboarding.

The second reported death occurred at Heavenly Mountain Resort on Jan. 11 when Nancy Blachly, 57, was found by resort ski patrollers and later pronounced dead after being taken to Barton Memorial Hospital. Coroner's records listed Blachly's death as accidental due to blunt force trauma to the left side of her chest.

Maison T. Ortiz, 15, a Galena High School sophomore, died Jan. 19 after reportedly crashing into a tree while walking down a slick mountainside at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe.

Just 5 days later, Rahsheka Keith, 22, of Oakland, Calif., was killed on Jan. 24 when she crashed into a lift tower at Granlibakken Resort while riding a snowboard as a sled with her feet unattached to the bindings. She was not wearing a helmet.


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