Snowboarder dead at Northstar |

Snowboarder dead at Northstar

by Kevin MacMillan

TRUCKEE, Calif. — A male snowboarder died Thursday at the Northstar California resort near Lake Tahoe after apparently falling headfirst into a tree well, sources have confirmed.

The 43-year-old man from New Canaan, Conn., died in what Northstar officials called “a serious incident,” according to a 6:45 a.m. Friday statement.

The name of the man has not yet been released by the Placer County Medical Examiner’s Office, pending next-of-kin notification.

Dane Jasper, of Santa Rosa, Calif., was skiing at the resort Thursday when he said he heard a fellow skier — reportedly an emergency room doctor — shouting for help near where the Connecticut man had fallen into the tree well.

“We found him on his back, in a tree well, unconscious,” Jasper said Thursday night. “…Together, we couldn’t pull (the man) out, so we kept shouting until another man arrived, and the three of us managed to pull (the skier) out.

“We gave CPR until ski patrol arrived, but (the man) wasn’t responsive.”

The Tahoe-Truckee region had been hammered this week with yet another major snow storm, making for deep powder conditions across most regional ski resorts.

According to a 9 a.m. Thursday statement from Vail Resorts, Northstar California had received 11 inches of snow at its upper mountain overnight Wednesday, making for a 7-day snowfall total of 94 inches (that equates to 7.83 feet).

So far during the 2016-17 ski season, 562 inches of snow have fallen at Northstar, officials said.

“It has been years since California has had deep snow like this season, and (Thursday’s incident) serves as a poignant reminder — don’t ski or board alone,” Jasper said. “The deep natural snow means deep wells around every tree, and falling head-down into a tree well can quickly result in a tragic outcome.

“For almost a decade, we have seen moderate snowfall in the (Sierra), so I think most of us have forgotten about the risks of heavy (snow). This served as a powerful reminder for me today.”

“Northstar, Northstar Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest’s family and friends,” said Nadia Guerriero, vice president and general manager of Northstar California, in Friday’s statement.

Thursday’s death marks the second on-mountain fatality this season at Northstar.

In December, 35-year-old Northstar ski instructor Dennis Baltimore, from Incline Village was skiing down the resort’s Village Run when lost control on the snow and crashed to his eventual death.