Ninth fatality of season occurs
March 5, 2006
TRUCKEE (AP) – A Reno man has become the second snowboarder in a week to die in an accident at a North Shore ski resort, authorities said.
Franz Seifert’s death Thursday at Northstar-at-Tahoe also brings to nine the number of deadly Sierra Nevada snowboarding and skiing accidents since Jan. 26.
Placer County sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Langton said it’s among the deadliest periods on the slopes he can recall in his 24 years at Lake Tahoe.
“That’s a pretty substantial number of skiers and snowboarders to pass away,” he said Saturday.
Seifert was celebrating his 40th birthday when he hit a tree at Northstar, resort officials said. He was wearing a helmet.
On Feb. 24, a 16-year-old Los Altos boy died after a snowboarding accident at Squaw Valley USA.
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Thomas Reyneri was killed after he apparently crashed through a warning fence and fell into a drainage ditch below the Headwall chairlift, resort officials said.
Earlier, four skiers died at Mammoth Mountain just east of Yosemite, and an off-duty Mammoth Mountain ski patroller died in an avalanche while skiing the backcountry near the eastern Sierra town of Bridgeport.
At Lake Tahoe, two others were killed in separate accidents at the Alpine Meadows and Donner Ski Ranch resorts.
Rusty Gregory, chairman and CEO of Mammoth Mountain, said he could not recall a similar string of fatalities in his 29 years at the resort where typically only one fatality occurs a season.
Nationwide, an average of 39 skiing deaths occur each season, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
Among other measures, officials are urging skiers and snowboarders to get in shape before hitting the slopes and to stop before becoming fatigued.