Bay Area man, 30, killed in snowboard accident at Northstar-at-Tahoe; fifth reported death this season
UPDATE: 3 p.m. Tuesday
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; A Bay Area man was killed Sunday while snowboarding at Northstar-at-Tahoe, officials have confirmed, marking the fifth reported death this winter stemming from an incident at a Lake Tahoe ski resort.
On Tuesday, Paul Schmidt, chief deputy coroner for Nevada County, identified the snowboarder as Jeffrey Halperin, 30, from San Francisco. Schmidt said the cause of death is still unknown.
Schmidt said Halperin’s body was found upside down in a tree well; initial review of the incident points to either death by blunt force trauma or by suffocation.
and#8220;Right now it’s all tentative at this point,and#8221; Schmidt said.
According to a press release issued Monday afternoon by Northstar Spokeswoman Jessica Van Pernis, ski patrollers and officials with the Northstar Fire Department were alerted of an unconscious snowboarder at 10:38 a.m. Sunday; they found the man lying by a cluster of trees near the Challenger ski trail on the backside of the resort.
According to Northstar, patrollers said upon first contact they administered emergency medical care to the man, who was not wearing a helmet. The man was later pronounced dead after being transported via CareFlight to Tahoe Forest Hospital.
and#8220;Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort management and staff and the Vail Resorts family extend their deepest sympathy and support to the family and friends of the snowboarder,and#8221; Northstar said in the press release. and#8220;The resort would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Northstar Fire Department and CareFlight staff in the rescue efforts.and#8221;
Van Pernis said the information was not released on Sunday due to parent company Vail Resorts’ policy to not proactively send out statements regarding incidents that occur at Northstar.
and#8220;We can’t comment on an injured person’s condition due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and privacy laws, and once an injured person leaves our care to be transported to a hospital, we are not kept updated with what the status of their condition is due to those same HIPAA laws,and#8221; Van Pernis said Tuesday.
Halperin’s death is the fifth reported death this winter stemming from an incident at a Lake Tahoe ski resort.
On Dec. 30, 2010, rescue crews found the dead body of Shawnte Marie Willis, 25, of Tahoma, in a backcountry area southwest of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. Authorities said she crashed into a tree while snowboarding.
The second reported death occurred at Heavenly Mountain Resort on Jan. 11, 2011, when Nancy Blachly, 57, was found by resort ski patrollers and later pronounced dead after being taken to Barton Memorial Hospital. Coroner’s records listed Blachly’s death as accidental due to blunt force trauma to the left side of her chest.
Maison T. Ortiz, 15, a Galena High School sophomore, died Jan. 19 after reportedly crashing into a tree while walking down a slick mountainside at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe.
Just 5 days later, Rahsheka Keith, 22, of Oakland, Calif., was killed on Jan. 24 when she crashed into a lift tower at Granlibakken Resort while riding a snowboard as a sled with her feet unattached to the bindings. She was not wearing a helmet.