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What We Know About The Alleged Assault at Northstar at Tahoe

An alleged assault at Northstar at Tahoe in February has led to a social media backlash, but details about the incident remain unclear. Northstar at Tahoe trail map. 

On February 25th, an incident occurred at Northstar Resort in North Lake Tahoe between Danielle Muresan-Foster, her nine-year-old son, and an unidentified male in his late twenties. A blog post Muresan-Foster wrote about the incident has ignited a firestorm on social media. But statements released today by Northstar and the Placer County Sheriff's Office offer different sides of the tale.

In a post on her site ShredMom.com titled After Being Violently Assaulted In Front of My 9-Year-Old at Northstar a Vail Resorts Property Northstar/Vail Resorts Protected The Man Who Attacked Me and Punished Me For “Causing” His Behavior, Muresan-Foster, a self-described snowboarding instructor, college soccer referee, writer, photographer and stay-at-home mother of four, described an awful scene that affected herself and her young son, a talented 9-year-old snowboarder whose skills have earned him national and internet fame. She described an altercation that occurred between the male and herself after he rode too close to her son in the halfpipe and she confronted him about the incident in the lift maze at the bottom of the Vista Express lift.

She responded by slapping him in the face, and the man then allegedly punched her with a closed fist in the left eye.

Muresan-Foster alleged that, following a heated verbal exchange in which the male aggressor released a spate of curse-riddled insults, the male rider bumped her in the chest. She responded by slapping him in the face, and the man then allegedly punched her with a closed fist in the left eye. Foster did not seek medical attention that day, and filed a police report the following day after leaving a message with the sheriff's office that evening. She alleged that Northstar employees, as well as bystanders, did nothing to assist in the altercation and even defended the actions of her assailant, and that a group of men in Northstar's terrain park causes issues at the resort that require frequent police intervention. However, statements issued today by both Northstar and the Placer County Sheriff's Office contradict much of Muresan-Foster's initial allegations.

statement released today by Beth Howard, Northstar's Vice President and General Manager, stated that "On February 25th, at approximately 1:50 p.m., Northstar Ski Patrol was immediately alerted to an altercation at the Vista Lift Maze. Ski Patrol, Security and Mountain Safety promptly responded to the incident and completed an investigation. One eyewitness to the incident stated Mrs. Danelle Muresan-Foster was the party who was physically aggressive toward another guest. 

The eyewitness stated that Mrs. Muresan-Foster collided into the male guest in the lift maze from behind; she fell to the ground; and, he tried to help her up. The same eyewitness also stated that Mrs. Muresan-Foster initiated the physical altercation by slapping the other guest. Mrs. Muresan-Foster admitted to the security officer who responded to the scene, a former Sheriff’s officer, that she slapped the other guest. 

No witness beyond Mrs. Muresan-Foster reported any physical violence toward her. The investigation also found that the other guest engaged in inappropriate behavior with abusive language. A security officer repeatedly offered at the time of the incident to contact the local authorities for Mrs. Muresan-Foster, however she repeatedly refused. After concluding our investigation, Northstar restricted the skiing/riding privileges of both guests."

Dena Irwin, the Placer County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, confirmed with TGR today that a detective had been dispatched to Northstar to investigate the mother's claims about the incident. He is currently conducting a full investigation into the potential misdemeanor assault crime, with tentative results expected to be released next week. 

Erwin stated that their office rarely, if ever, is called to Northstar, and they have the records to back up this claim. She did not rule out the possibility that Northstar deals with these problems internally, but was certain they never require a police presence. 

While the initial social media backlash followed the publishing of Muresan-Foster's side of the altercation, today's statements from Northstar and the Placer County Sheriff's Office add some complexity and perspective to this developing story, and we await the publication of the initial police report – expected next week – and expect it to shine some light onto what actually happened this fateful February day. 

I like how in your article she slaps him but he “allegedly” punches her. Way to stand behind an elitist male snowboarder assaulting a woman. It’s nice to know where Teton Gravity Research stands on such matters.

    It’s called objectivity in reporting.
    At this point, no one knows exactly what happened here or who is the victim. Why take sides while there is a pending police investigation? There seems to be plenty of evidence and some witnesses, we’ll know the truth soon enough.

      My point is that the “reporter” is only being objective to one party.

        The lady admitted to slapping the man, so the reporter can print it as a fact. The only person to say that the man punched the woman was the woman herself. No one else can backup that claim. So the reporter has to put “allegedly” in there otherwise the man in this story may have a decent chance at a libel suit againt this reporter.

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She slapped him with her glove! If it was me or if it was my wife being treated like that it would have been more then a slap! NorthStar is full of crap and will say what ever they need to in order to keep fools going back to their parks! I just stay in Oregon

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Ain’t nothing cool about this situation, but here are a couple of items for thought:

1.  He said, She said.  As a Tahoe local of nearly 20 years, I can see a crusty, local bro-brah doing this. I can also see an entitled tourist doing this for their own gain.  The lengthy, venomous social media posting a month later is suspicious. 

2.  Insider perspective.  Having worked as a quest services manager for a big Tahoe resort, I have seen guest-guest, guest-employee assaults/batteries.  I was a victim of battery by a guest while responding to a situation.  Resort employees are taught not to intervene, but to attempt to bring the involved guests aside and bring security, management and if necessary law enforcement/EMS into the situation.  The resort I worked at was notorious for horrible guest relations.  My experience with this type of situation was to bend over backwards to appease all involved parties to avoid a negative media shits storm.  Again, the lengthy, venomous social media post a month later is suspicious.

3.  Equal rights.  If you don’t want to be hit, don’t hit someone.  Women should not be struck.  But, if women do not wish to be struck, then women should not strike someone. If a man does not wish to be struck, do not strike someone.  She posted pics of her with her 4 kids.  Those pics were posted to garner sympathy.  Her husband/boyfriend was supposedly in line with her and stood by while she engaged in this situation.  Again, I refer to the lengthy, venomous social media post.

Violence against women is deplorable.  I am no fan of the evil empire known as vail corp or entitled tourists.  I do have perspective on this as a nearly 20 year employee of the ski/tourism industry in North Lake Tahoe.  I currently make money from vail corp.  The reaction to this is overblown thanks to a venomous, one sided account on social media.
Let the po-po do their thing, but my hunch, based on experience, is that she is more wrong than right and some local bro brah was likely a contributor to this mess.

Lesson:
Do not hit someone and bitch when they hit you back.
Unfortunately, this could be a trend as most resorts are seeing increasing crowds and are coming under control of massive, unconcerned corporations As the former owner of a resort I worked for said, “get them in the fucking valley so they can spend their fucking money”.

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All the ski parks in that area are full of nuts from the Bay Area and Sacramento and people have forgotten how to treat people. A person is not allowed to tell someone to slow down or watch what you are doing, That’s why I left Calif back in 1989 and I was born there in 1961. No one cares about any other person and you can see it all over the highways and freeways. Once Oregon gets like Calif because they are moving up here and bringing the crap with them, I just got a new sales Mgr from the Big City and what an Ass Hole and he is acting like we are all back woods idiots who know nothing and my customers see it and walk away from him, I grew up going to NorthStar and other parks there and every weekend the shit from the Bay would show up and be asses, That’s why we went on week days and it sounds as if it got bad with weekend Warriors, A slap with a glove to get a grown man to back off, I see nothing wrong with that, now if she hit him with a ski pole or her bag, but still to punch her, get real, maybe push her back and then to get ganged up on by his buddies and friends on ski patrol with I am better then you attitude and I have more power then God as they still live with mom and dad dude, pass the bong!!! Any person who yells at my wife or kids, girls because my boys can take care of their own, he would have been on the ground quick and telling me you are taking my pass, shit take it because I am not coming back to your park, I have more choices in life then they do and my money will stay in MY pocket, Oh MY FUCKING POCKET!!

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