Snowboarder dies from injuries |

Snowboarder dies from injuries

Michael Schneider

Seth Levinger, the Kirkwood relief lift operator who was critically injured in a snowboarding accident a week ago at the ski resort, died Thursday evening at Washoe Medical Center.

Levinger, 22, died at 6:15 p.m. when his family decided to disconnect the advanced life support system which had allowed Levinger to cling to life after falling into a coma following surgery to remove damaged brain tissue, according to the Washoe County Coroner’s office.

Family and friends had hoped Levinger would pull though as they gathered in the hospital waiting room. The hospital’s public relations representative called the show of support “amazing.” Kirkwood printed the words “Let Seth Ride” on its lift tickets as a show of support for the resort’s fallen employee.

Levinger was given a 5 percent chance of survival following the accident.

The snowboarder, described by family and friends as a good guy, was negotiating his way down what was described as an easy run through some trees when his head apparently struck a tree.

A woman on a chair lift saw Levinger laying motionless by a tree and skied down to him, then sent her son for help. He was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital where he was transported to Washoe Medical Center by Care Flight.

Should Levinger have survived the accident, doctors speculated his quality of life would have been greatly diminished due to brain damage sustained in the accident.

The casualty caused many to call Kirkwood and inquire about the safety of snowboarding and skiing without a helmet.

“It’s a matter of personal choice,” said Nancy Harrison, pubic relations manager at Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort, regarding helmet use. “But more and more people are choosing to wear them.”

Harrison said at the Wilderness Mountain Children’s Center at Sierra-at-Tahoe, parents are encouraged to rent a helmet for their children, and helmets are mandatory for youngsters participating in the resort’s Buddy Werner program.

Kirkwood representatives, who held a meeting Thursday night regarding the issue of helmet use, were not available for comment Sunday.

“If a skier or boarder hits a tree, the tree’s going to win,” said Harrison, explaining that people injured in person vs. person accidents could benefit from helmets as well.

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