Vacation ends in tragedy
Autopsy results on U.S. Rep. Sonny Bono revealed the 62-year-old
died of massive head injuries after running into a tree while skiing on
the Nevada side of Heavenly Ski Resort Monday.
Bono was at the resort with his wife, Mary Whitaker, and their two children,
Chesare, 9, and Chianna, 6. Bono and his family had been vacationing in
South Lake Tahoe and were staying at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
Three hours after separating from her husband at the top of the mountain,
Whitaker reported him missing to the resorts’ ski patrol around 4:30 p.m.
According to authorities, the family started off Monday at the Boulder
Lodge. They were skiing together until Whitaker stopped near the top of
Orion’s Run, an upper-level intermediate slope, to help her daughter, who
had fallen. Bono skied on ahead. Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini said
Whitaker, who classified Bono as an advanced skier, didn’t become concerned
until much later, believing he had decided to ski on his own. When the lifts
started to shut down she got worried.
After conducting a search of the lodges and lift areas, 15 members of
Heavenly’s ski patrol set out on the slopes at 6 p.m. Bono was located 25
feet off the groomed trail in the trees east of Orion’s run around 6:50
Tree skiing is still prohibited at the resort at this time. Skiing in
some tree sections, including those on Orion’s run, is permitted when there
is enough of a snow base to cover all obstacles. At the time of the accident
the average snow depth on the run was listed as 2 to 5 feet with 7 inches
of new snow in the last 24 hours.
“He left the groomed trail, went 150 feet and struck the tree,”
Pierini announced at a Tuesday press conference. “Death was immediate
Pierini said it is estimated that Bono was traveling between 20 to 30
mph upon impact. He said although toxicology reports won’t be complete for
another three weeks there were no indications that Bono was under the influence
of any drugs or alcohol. Pierini described the death as a tragic accident.
Investigators said that Bono’s equipment was unscratched. He was still
wearing his skis, Head 24 x Cybers, and his ski poles were still in his
hands when he was found, leading investigators to believe that the full
force of the impact was on his head.
Pierini said it would have been difficult for skiers on the main trail
to see Bono because the trail he took into the trees was lower, with snow
piled higher around the trees, and some snow had settled on top of him after
Bono’s wife and children left Stateline for the Reno/Tahoe International
airport Tuesday morning.
TARGET=”_parent”Incline Village |
TARGET=”_parent”South Lake Tahoe |
TARGET=”_parent”Tahoe City |
TARGET=”_parent”Carson City |
TARGET=”_blank”Minden/Gardnerville Main Pages:
TARGET=”_parent”Real Estate |
TARGET=”_parent”Interactive | Comments?
Copyright, Lake Tahoe News Network.
Materials contained within this site may not be used without permission.
Check out the Tahoe Daily Tribune
Go here if you are not
seeing the full framed version of the Tahoe Daily Tribune Online.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User