2 Fatalities at Ski Resorts in Utah and New Mexico Over Thanksgiving

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Credit: Intermountain Life Flight

There were two tragic accidents at American ski resorts last week, both resulting in fatalities.

A 55-year-old man skiing with his son was airlifted to hospital in an extremely critical condition Wednesday after an accident at Brighton Ski Resort, UT. He later died of his injuries.

Lee Draper and his son were skiing at 9:30 am in the White Snake area by the Snake Creek run where the resort was making snow.

The man hit a snowbank causing severe facial trauma and “some kind of medical episode.”

“The son reports that his goggles became covered in the snow, so he couldn’t see. His dad ran into a snowbank and received severe facial trauma and then suffered some kind of medical episode.”

– Police Report

Patrollers worked on the man for over an hour before getting him up the hill and onto LifeFlight, where he was transported to the University of Utah Hospital.

In New Mexico, a 28-year-old snowboarder died on Saturday at Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe confirmed.

Jario Hernandez, who was wearing a helmet, appears to have hit a tree. Patrollers found him unresponsive along a tree line on Thumper, a blue run, around 1 pm.

“Patrol performed and did a great job, but the injury he sustained…they were not able to continue to render him care to keep him alive. Our condolences go out to the family. This is a small community and we all feel this hit.”

– General Manager JP Bradley

Sipapu is currently conducting an investigation. It’s the first death at the mountain in over 20-years.

sipapu, New Mexico,
Sipapu trail map.

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