Two die at resort over weekend
Two women from the Bay Area died during the weekend at Sierra-at-Tahoe.
In the last six years, there had been only one death at the ski resort.
On Friday, 51-year-old Lucia Shanks, of San Mateo, Calif., died of massive head injuries after hitting a tree on the intermediate Snowshoe Trail. She was breathing sporadically when she left the mountain but died on the way to Barton Memorial Hospital, said Sgt. Jim Watson of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.
The next day, Irene Collier, 24, of Sunnyvale, Calif., collapsed at the bottom of the mountain after taking a lesson. She died Sunday morning at Barton Memorial Hospital. The cause of death has yet to be determined.
“It was scary,” said Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Ben McLeod of Collier’s death. “She just collapsed and no one really knows why.”
McLeod said he nearly fell down when he learned of Collier’s death.
“To have two in two days – one ski related, one apparently not – is an awful, awful coincidence,” McLeod said. “It has shaken us up. Our first concern is for the families, but our second is for the patrol members who responded. Whenever you have to deal with these kind of incidents it is not easy.”
Collier was at the mountain with several friends and was just learning to snowboard.
Shanks was more experienced, but witnesses said she was having trouble turning when she fell and slid into the trees.
Since January there have been five deaths at Lake Tahoe resorts. An average of 34 people die each year in skiing and snowboarding accidents across the country.
“They were truly horrible tragedies,” McLeod said. “I am having a pretty hard time with it right now.”
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