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Mt Bachelor Sued for $30M After Tree Well Deaths

The lawsuit claims that the resort failed to warn guests of the tree well risk. U.S.F.S. Photo

Central Oregon's Mount Bachelor is currently facing litigation from the families of a skier and snowboarder who died due to tree well immersion in 2018. Both victims—Alfonso Braun and Nicole Panet-Raymond—died on the same day from separate tree well incidents on the mountain. Last Thursday, the families filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming that the resort is at fault for not closing off the zones where the two died, not marking the tree wells with ropes or poles, and failing to give proper warnings to resort guests after three weeks of heavy snowfall.

RELATED: Skier Demonstrates the Danger of Tree Wells

Braun’s body was found under six feet of snow in the West Bowls, an expert-level area. He was skiing with a friend, but the two became separated. Panet-Raymond’s body was also found that day under six feet of snow near the White Bark run after she reported missing.

According to The Bulletin, tree well safety education and awareness was a priority for the resort going into the 2017-2018 season, but many of the materials and signs had not been posted by the time of the incidents. Following the deaths, the resort replaced handmade signs with 18-by-24 plastic placards warning skiers/snowboarders about the risks of tree wells. The resort also instated a new ticketing system to better track guests on the mountain should a similar incident occur again.

Last Friday, Mt. Bachelor's president and general manager John Mcleod released the following statement regarding tree well hazards:

“These type of incidents caused by hazards naturally present in the mountain environment are thankfully rare. Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the affected families and friends.

“The safety of our employees and guests is our number one priority. For information about tree wells and safe skiing in the trees, please visit: . To learn about industry skiing and snowboarding safety and statistics, visit .”

About The Author

stash member Katie Lozancich

TGR Staff Writer and photographer. Fond of bikes, pow, and dogs. Originally from Northern CA, home for me has ranged from the PNW to a teepee in Grand Teton National Park.

losing anyone is a horrible thing ! but dragging the resort into it is shameful.  you cant protect people from nature any more than you can sue god for making too much snow.  respect your children and the mountains too.