BEND, Ore. (AP) - Central Oregon authorities say a snowboarder and skier died on Mt. Bachelor in separate incidents on the same day after each fell into holes at the base of trees and were covered by snow.
The Deschutes County sheriff's office identified the victims on Friday as 24-year-old snowboarder Alfonso Braun of Bend and 19-year-old skier Nicole Panet-Raymond of Eugene.
Authorities tell KTVZ-TV that skiers and snowboarders found Braun buried in snow at about noon and dug him out. Life-saving efforts failed, and he was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Officials say a few hours after that they received a report of a missing skier, and that evening found Panet-Raymond dead in a tree well.
Officials say Braun was found in terrain reserved for experts and Panet-Raymond in intermediate terrain.
(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press)
KEZI spoke with Mt. Bachelor staff, who said they're heartbroken to see these tragic events happening, and they're condolences are with the families affected.
They did say that the recent snowfall may have contributed to the dangerous conditions. In the past few days staff said they've recieved nearly four feet of snow that is cold, dry, and doesn't pack well.
"Unfortunately, while that makes for excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions, it also increases the risk of tree well incidents, since that light snow can easily disguise some caverns near trees or be invisible to a skiier or a snowboarder," said Drew Jackson, the Director of Marketing and Communication for Mt. Bachelor.
Jackson urged skiiers and snowboarders to take precautions before heading out to the mountain. He said to make sure you're aware of what hazards you could run into and how to avoid them. He also said to always use the buddy system, so that if you do end up in a dangerous situation, you're able to get the help you need.
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