Year later, Bono remembered |

Year later, Bono remembered

Considering the number of people who ski and snowboard nationwide, there are relatively few deaths related to those sport each year.

However, one of the people who did die last year – on Jan. 5 – brought an onslaught of national and worldwide attention to Lake Tahoe.

It has been one year since Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident on the Nevada side of Heavenly Ski Resort.

The event – less than a week after the death of Michael Kennedy, a member of the well-known, politically active Kennedy family, in Aspen, Colo., – grabbed the attention of media representatives from New York, London and Australia as well as TV shows “Dateline,” “Larry King Live” and “Hard Copy.”

The one-year anniversary of Bono’s death is passing with little notice.

“I think everyone who was involved last year thought it was very tragic,” said Monica Bandows, Heavenly’s director of communications. “But without sounding kind of hard, for us (one year later) it’s operations and business as normal.”

Bono, an entertainer and later a California congressman, died of massive head injuries after skiing into a tree. He was 62 years old.

Although tests completed following his death showed no evidence of drug or alcohol abuse, his wife, Rep. Mary Bono of Palm Springs has said that prescription painkillers likely contributed to his death.

“I am 100 percent convinced that is why he died,” she told TV Guide in November 1998. “What he did showed absolute lack of judgment. That’s what those pills do. They take away your thought process.”

She said he was taking 15 to 20 pills a day around the time he died, and the drugs made him moody, withdrawn and angry.

Bandows said there were 26 ski-related fatalities nationwide in the 1997-98 ski season – out of 54.1 million skiers.

“It’s safer than a lot of sports,” she said. “It’s as safe as you make it.”

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