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Mt. Bachelor skier falls into tree well, dies


(Update: Mt. Bachelor confirms skier died in tree well)

A man skiing at Mt. Bachelor fell into a tree well and died Friday afternoon, resort officials said.

The incident occurred in an area just west of Sparks Lake Run, an experts-only area off the Northwest chairlift at the resort west of Bend.

The skier was found unresponsive in the tree well shortly before 3 p.m., said Drew Jackson, the resort’s director of marketing and communications.

Ski Patrol members performed CPR, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, Jackson said.

The man’s name, age and hometown were not immediately released. Jackson said that information would come from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Nathan Garibay said the man’s name will be withheld until family is notified. He said that means it likely won’t be released until Saturday at the earliest.

“All of us at Mt. Bachelor are heartbroken by the loss felt at the mountain today,” John McLeod, Mt. Bachelor’s president and general manager, said in a statement.. “Our deepest condolences go out to the affected families and friends.”

An air ambulance crew called to the scene had to turn back due to weather conditions between Bend and the ski resort, according to unconfirmed scanner reports.

Tree wells are hidden cavities of deep snow that form when low-hanging branches block snowflakes from compacting around the tree trunks. Skiers or boarders who get close to those trees can fall in, often headfirst, and suffocate.

Mt. Bachelor, located west of Bend, urges skiers and snowboarders to always go with a buddy and stay in sight of them, especially in treed areas, due to the danger of tree wells.

The resort has received several feet of new snow in recent days, pushing well past the 100-inch mark after a lean start to the winter.

Mt. Bachelor’s ‘Safety Tip of the Day” on its website Friday said: “Tree well risk is as high as it ever gets. Always ski or ride with a friend and educate yourself on good safety practices,” offering links to more information.

The fatal tree well incident came one day shy of a year since a Mt. Bachelor skier and snowboarder died in separate, similar incidents on March 2, 2018.

There also were two fatal tree well incidents last month at other Oregon ski resorts, at Timberline Lodge and Mt. Ashland.

Mt. Bachelor officials said fr information about tree wells and safe skiing in the trees, visit: . T o learn about industry skiing and snowboarding safety and statistics, visit .

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