Truckee skier dies after hitting tree at Squaw | SierraSun.com

Truckee skier dies after hitting tree at Squaw

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

Jim Taylor

Truckee resident, outdoor enthusiast and business owner James Taylor died following a ski accident Monday at Squaw Valley.

Taylor hit at tree below Squaw Valley’s Headwall chairlift Monday morning and was subsequently airlifted to a Reno hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, according to officials.

Joyce Taylor, Jim Taylor’s wife of nearly 21 years, said in a phone interview that after skiing on Monday, her husband was set to visit her in a Bay Area hospital where she is recovering from a stroke.

“As far as my health, I’m going to be 100 percent,” Joyce Taylor said. “But I’m going to miss him a lot. He was a very special husband.

“He’s going to be missed by his friends and really missed by his family.”

The Taylors visited Truckee regularly for 15 years before becoming full-time Tahoe Donner residents six years ago, said Joyce Taylor, a board member for the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.

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Jim Taylor was the designer of Truckee-based Jet Lites, a high-end lighting system for cyclists. Joyce Taylor said her husband was a self-taught electrical engineer who had been building the Jet Lites business for nine years.

Aside from skiing and mountain biking, Taylor enjoyed playing golf and spending time with Joyce and their two dogs, Mickey and Minnie, said Billy Trolan, Taylor’s best friend since age 8.

Taylor was an “expert skier” and had been skiing in the Tahoe area for more than 35 years, said Trolan.

“He considered Squaw Valley his home,” Trolan said. “Our bond of friendship even superseded powder days.”

Trolan said he skied with Taylor at Squaw on Sunday, and was searching for him around the resort’s KT-22 lift Monday when he heard the Careflight helicopter overhead.

“In that world, that’s always a bad sign,” Trolan said of spotting the air ambulance.

Taylor, a pass holder at the resort, apparently lost control and collided with a tree around 10 a.m., and was transported to Squaw Valley’s Truckee Tahoe Medical Group, said Squaw Valley ski resort spokeswoman Savannah Cowley.

“Squaw patrol was on the scene within minutes, and Taylor was alert and conscience at that time,” Cowley said.

Taylor was wearing a helmet, she said. He was taken by Careflight to Renown Medical Center in Reno where he was pronounced dead by a physician at the hospital. He suffered a head trauma, and lower extremity trauma, according to the Washoe County officials.

“He was a great guy, and one of my oldest friends,” Trolan said.

Stephanie Hiemstra, executive director for the Humane Society, and a long-time family friend said Taylor will be “incredibly missed.”

“We often hear about people living their lives to the fullest, but this description barely scrapes the surface when describing Jim,” she said. “His love for life, and passion for play was beyond compare.”