Injured Skier Dies From Avalanche At Tahoe Resort

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • anne

    Glad to read the article, but cringed when I read, “There presence apparently caused the avalanche.” Is there a CBS copy-editor whose job it is to check for spelling errors? Or, Is their a CBS copy-editor who’s job it is to check for spelling errors. :-)

    Important article for those heading to the mountains this weekend. Thank you for the update.

  • SS

    Thank you, Anne. The spelling- and grammar-challenged seem to be taking over.

  • squealy

    Odd, as just a day or so earlier, they issued warnings for possible avalanches to occur in the back country and advised skiers to stick to established runs.

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