Three people have died in ski accidents in California in only two days. The huge dumping of snow from a recent storm provided the conditions which contributed to each fatality.
In Lake Tahoe, a 54-year-old skier died Sunday after falling into a deep hole created by an underflow of water, according to the El Dorado County sheriff’s office. The man was skiing in an expert area at Sierra at Tahoe Resort when the accident occurred. Other skiers found him but he wasn’t breathing at the time and couldn’t be revived, the sheriff’s office reported.
On Monday, a 20-year-old Sugar Bowl ski resort employee was killed when he fell into a tree well while snowboarding with friends on a double-black diamond, or expert, run, authorities said. Placer County sheriff’s deputies said the accident occurred about 2:30 p.m. on Strawberry Fields in the Lake Tahoe area. The young man’s friends found him trapped in a tree well, a deep hole that snow had formed around a tree.
And on Monday, a 30-year-old man was snowboarding in a wide open area at China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore in Fresno County when he fell face-first into new snow and couldn’t dig himself out. Several minutes passed before anybody saw him and despite administering CPR, nobody could revive him.
These tragic deaths all too well illustrate the cardinal rule of never skiing alone – even on a single trail. When suffocating under snow, minutes matter and you need someone by your side immediately to rescue you from the peril.