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Injured Skier Dies From Avalanche At Tahoe Resort

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Avalanche victim Benjamin Brackett (CBS)

Avalanche victim Benjamin Brackett (CBS)

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ALPINE MEADOWS (CBS) – A skier who was injured after an avalanche in the Tahoe National Forest on Thursday afternoon later died as a result of his injuries, according to authorities.

The incident occurred 500 vertical feet below Stanford Rock off Highway 89 near the backside of Alpine Meadows in the Ward Valley area. The 29-year-old skier was transported to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee in critical condition and later pronounced dead.

The Nevada County Coroner identified the skier as Benjamin Brackett of Olympic Valley.

Brackett reportedly suffered a broken leg, but the cause of his death was not immediately available.

Brackett was with two other skiers when the avalanche occurred. First reports had said the avalanche was caused as the skiers “skinned” up the mountain, a process of climb with skis.

However, the Sierra Avalanche Center, which has a detailed account of the fatal avalanche on their website, says Brackett first triggered a slab avalanche about one foot deep when he began skiing down the mountain.

It says he was able to stop himself from being taken down the slope by grabbing a tree. However, the avalanche then grew deeper sweeping him down the slope and burying him.

According to the report: “His partners skied down, saw a ski protruding from the snowpack, and used their beacons to locate the buried skier. The avalanche buried the skier about three feet deep and wrapped him around some trees. It took them about 3 minutes to get to their buried partner.”

Deputies were notified of the incident at 2:50 p.m. At 3 p.m., rescuers from the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team equipped with a Snowcat and two snowmobiles began their search for Brackett.

An official with Squaw Valley says Brackett has worked at the resort since 2008 in their food and beverage department.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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