Fatalities from tree wells at ski resorts are fairly uncommon, but two in the same day is unprecedented. Scott Swigart / Flickr photo.
On Friday, tragedy struck Mt. Bachelor in Oregon as a skier and snowboarder died in separate incidents from tree well immersion, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Per the report, the victims were 24-year-old Alfonso Braun of Bend, Oregon and 19-year-old Nicole Panet-Raymond of Eugene, Oregon.
As reported by KPTV, at around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Panet-Raymond was reported missing after she was separated from her friends. Her body was located through her cell phone by Mt. Bachelor ski patrol and Deschutes County Search and Rescue around 8:30 p.m. Friday evening. Upon discovery, she was pronounced dead.
Additionally, skiers and snowboarders found Braun buried at around 12 p.m. the same day. Despite life-saving attempts, the snowboarder was unable to be resuscitated. Both deaths are still under investigation.
"Our entire mountain community is shocked and saddened," John McLeod–Mt. Bachelor's president and general manager–said in a statement. "We are heartbroken, and our deepest condolences go out to the affected families and friends."
Recent heavy snow storms have drawn large crowds out to Mt.Bachelor. In regards to the recent snowfall, the company has expressed concerns about the dangers related to tree well immersion on their website. The resort's last tree well fatality was in 2002. Having two unrelated tree well fatalities on the same day is extremely rare.
"With all this new low-density snow comes a reminder about tree well and snow immersion hazards," the company wrote in a statement. "A good time to get caught up on good safety practices and always ski or ride with a buddy in eyesight if you're headed off-trail."
This morning, Patagonia announced it is donating $10 million to groups defending clean air and water, responsible land use, and the regenerative organic agriculture movement. Rose Mercario, CEO of Patagonia, says "Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year—$10 million less, in fact. Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet. Our home planet needs it more than we do."
On Saturday, December 1, at 9:55 a.m., sixteen people were skiing and snowboarding on the southern end of Expert Chutes, an inbounds zone at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, when an avalanche broke above them. In a matter of seconds the 150-foot wide slab with a 2-foot crown barreled down the slope, burying five skiers below. Without hesitation, onlookers immediately sprung into action and the ski patrol responded swiftly. Thanks to the cooperation and preparedness of the community and the
An avalanche caught five skiers on Saturday morning at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Everyone survived. The slide was triggered near the top of the freshly-opened Thunder Lift in an area next to the Expert Chutes zone. The slab broke loose from the base of a cliff with a crown measured around two feet deep and 150 feet wide. A JHMR ski patrol search team armed with two dogs, a Recco device and avalanche beacons immediately began searching the area, uncovering the victims, which included