2 Families of Tree Well Victims are Suing Mt. Bachelor, OR for $30-Million for Wrongful Death

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Mount Bachelor, OR. Credit Mount Bachelor Facebook

The two families of a skier and snowboarder who died on the same day at Mt. Bachelor, OR have jointly filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $30 million. 24-year-old Alfonso Braun of Bend and 19-year-old Nicole Panet-Raymond of Eugene suffocated in tree wells in separate incidents on the same day in 2018.

The lawsuit claims that Mt. Bachelor failed to warn of the risks of tree wells after weeks of snowfall. The lawsuit against Powder Corp., the owners of Mt. Bachelor, said the ski area “knew or should have known of the danger” after three weeks of snow that could produce tree wells “into which skiers and snowboarders could fall, become buried in snow, trapped and suffocate to death.”

Both snowboarder Braun, and skier Panet-Raymond, were riding within the ski area’s boundary at the time of their deaths.

“These types of incidents caused by hazards naturally present in the mountain environment are thankfully rare,” said Mt. Bachelor President and General Manager John McLeod in a statement. “Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the affected families and friends.”

mt. bachelor, Oregon
2 tragic incidents, in separate areas of the mountain, in one day.

On March 2, 2018, Braun’s body was found under about 6 feet of snow in the West Bowls, off the Northwest Lift, an area designated for experts. He had been riding with a buddy, but they lost sight of each other.

Panet-Raymond was reported missing at about 3:30 pm the same day. Her body was discovered about five hours later under 6-feet of snow in the Cloudchaser Lift intermediate area.

“They (Panet-Raymond and Braun) were both in-bounds in the area where the ski resort would expect them to be,” said Portland attorney Dan Dziuba, who is representing the families. “The resort knows people like to ski in the powder and that’s in the trees, and that’s where the tree wells are.”


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8 thoughts on “2 Families of Tree Well Victims are Suing Mt. Bachelor, OR for $30-Million for Wrongful Death

  1. The deaths are tragic but this is precisely why lift tickets cost $200 nowadays, having to fight unfounded lawsuits. Skiers and boarders are responsible to be aware of the hazards and their own ability when using a lift served ski resort. While the loss to each family is devastating, it is no reason to file suit because their loved ones irresponsibility. Lawsuit-happy America with its ambulance chasing lawyers (like you Mr. Dan Dziuba of Portland!) threaten the long term viability of lift served ski resorts. Thankfully, I can backcountry ski and avoid the whole mess of the modern US ski resort.

    1. Basic common sense is what keeps me alive and a total lack of skill will kill the ignorant skiers and snowboarders . So will families of backcountry skiers and snowboarders sue the U.S. Forest service when their sons , daughters , Husbands, Wives die in a tree well ? How can you not know that tree wells exist in heavy snow fall conditions ? Again this is not news that skiing and snowboarding is inherently dangerous and skill and experience is a requirement to avoid tree wells and suffocating in deep snow falls .
      Take responsibility for your own safety and actions. The families are trying to profit off the death of their children. 30 million ??? Who the F**K needs 30 million dollars to overcome the grief of the death of their child ?

  2. Dan Dziuba will get about 50 percent of the settlement
    Just wanted to get that out there. He will be the major Cash recipient of the lawsuit . It’s in his best interest to spread false and untrue statements about the conditions and that MT.Bachelor is negligent .

  3. Next thing you know they will be suing because their family member was skiing/boarding, hit a tree and was killed… Oh wait… Never mind.

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