Snowboarder slides to his death at Sierra
Jonathon Mark Westergaard was pronounced dead shortly after a doctor, nurse and ski patroller arrived at the scene Saturday morning. Westergaard was given medical aid but could not be resuscitated. He was pronounced dead at 11:15 a.m. at Barton Memorial Hospital Clinic, located at the resort.
A helicopter and ambulance were on standby but were not used.
Pete Van Arnum, coroner with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, said it was unlikely Westergaard wore a helmet and would not speculate if it would have helped.
The accident occurred on the backside of the resort, at the intersection of Smoky and Wagon Trail, a Sierra official said.
An autopsy determined Westergaard died of massive internal injuries, a broken spine and torn heart valve. He died instantly, Van Arnum said.
Van Arnum said the conditions – mushy snow in the sun and slippery parts in the shade – may have played a part in the accident.
“It’s just one of those freak accidents,” he said. “We’ve been lucky so far this year. This is the first (ski-related fatality) I’ve had.”