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.”
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.”