Heavenly veteran ski patroller Robert Tara dies | SierraSun.com

Heavenly veteran ski patroller Robert Tara dies

LAKE TAHOE ” Robert Tara, a 24-year Heavenly Mountain Resort veteran ski patroller, who was affectionately known as “Big Bob” among friends and co-workers, died of an apparent heart attack Monday while riding the Mott chair lift. He was 58.

While the cause of death hadn’t been determined, authorities believe it was a heart attack he suffered while riding the chairlift, said Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Halsey.

No one was with Tara at the time of his death. He was found by chairlift personnel. Heavenly Mountain Resort officials said Tuesday they are saddened by the passing and will conduct their own investigation into Tara’s death.

“Bob Tara was an important and long-time member of the Heavenly team, and we are deeply saddened by his loss,” said Blaise Carrig, Heavenly chief operating officer. “Our thoughts are with his family ” he will truly be missed.”

Grieving friends and co-workers of Tara were trying to process the loss of the man who they said had a huge heart to go with his towering 300-pound frame.

“Bob was just the most outgoing guy, a real fixture and rock around here for many years,” said his boss, Brian Gannon, Heavenly ski patrol director. “His name, Big Bob, was fitting for him, not in a literal sense but the overall. The guy had a great presence. He’s going to be missed.”

Gannon remembers Tara joining Heavenly in 1985 as a ski patroller and turning into a figure in the tight-knit circle of ski safety officers. Attending to injured skiers and saving lives is a large part of the job, Gannon added. It was a huge responsibility that Tara took seriously.

“There are countless number of lives he’s touched as any one of us can attest to,” Gannon said of the elite ski patrol group’s primary role. “All of us here are grieving because he was a big part of our family.”

Tara is survived by a wife and two children.

Services are pending. Check back at TahoeDailyTribune.com for updates.

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