Missing Tahoe City woman found dead at Squaw Valley
A Squaw Valley Ski Corporation employee was found dead in a tree well Saturday, two days after she hit her head on a tree while skiing, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
Sherry Elizabeth “Bitsy” Roessler, 25 of Tahoe City, was not wearing a helmet and most likely died on impact when she hit the tree, said sheriff’s Capt. Rick Armstrong.
“It’s one of those unfortunate situations that could happen while skiing,” Armstrong said. “If you impact a tree, it could be like getting hit by a car.”
Roessler was skiing with friends Thursday afternoon but they split up around 3 p.m., said Rob Birney, a Squaw Valley guest services employee, who was one of the last people to see Roessler alive before she boarded the Squaw Creek chair lift.
Roessler’s friends waited for her at the bottom of the run for 20 minutes and went back up the chair lift to do a run and look for their friend without any luck, Armstrong said.
No one reported Roessler’s disappearance to ski patrol at that time, said Squaw spokeswoman Katja Dahl.
On Friday, Roessler’s demo skis were found on the groomed ski run near the Resort at Squaw Creek. Apparently, a skier had found the skis earlier near the run and left them at the bottom hoping someone would claim them, Armstrong said.
On Friday at 12:50 p.m., one of Roessler’s friends reported her missing to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, according to dispatch reports.
Shortly after, the sheriff’s office contacted Squaw Valley’s mountain manager, who alerted ski patrol about Roessler’s disappearance, Dahl said.
Sheriff’s department search and rescue, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue and ski patrol searched the area on Friday afternoon and evening without success.
Roessler’s remains were found the next morning, when a patrol dog alerted ski patrollers of her body inside a deep tree well, more than one-eighth of a mile from the run, Armstrong said.
Roessler’s co-worker Birney, who was around during the rescue effort, said he had a feeling something was wrong; it was not like Roessler to not tell her friends where she was.
“I kind of thought the worst, so I was not totally shocked (when they found her),” Birney said. “I witnessed firsthand all (the rescue efforts). I was kind of prepared for it because all the indications were that something was wrong. It was not like her (to not report back to her friends). She was a people person ” very outgoing, very friendly, always fun to be around because she was really lively.”
Birney said the mood at Squaw over the weekend was gloomy.
“It’s pretty hard on everybody,” he said, “especially on Saturday when we found out.”
” Sun News Service reporter Melissa Siig contributed to this story.