Start it off with some World Cup News before we get to a recap of some tragic incidents from the past week…the White Circus was in Oslo to kick off 2018 with a New Year’s Day “city event.” These are usually a construction of some sort on a city street, upon which a night time dual slalom competition is held. Based on that, you can probably guess that Mikaela Shiffrin padded her overall lead with a win, and you’d be right. Shiff shared the podium with Swiss skiers Wendy Holdener and Melanie Meillard; that’s the latter’s first podium. Mikaela now has a 981 to 510 lead over Viktoria Rebensburg in the overall. Bit of a surprise on the mens side, Swede Andre Myhrer topping the podium, followed by Austria’s Michael Matt and Germany’s Linus Strasser — surprise being that overall leader Marcel Hirscher finished way back in fifth…Sorry to report that 49-year-old Lewis Carillo III died last Wednesday at Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, according to the Eldorado County Sheriff’s Office. Spokesman said it was a solo skiing accident. More details have since emerged; apparently Carillo was skiing off of any marked trails and fell down an icy slope. Carillo is said by Lake Valley Fire Protection District personnel to have died of head trauma and that no helmet was found. A rescue worker said it was uncertain whether or not a helmet would’ve prevented the fatality. Another skier attempted to reach Carillo but fell down the slope and injured her leg; she was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital…another fatality reported this past Sunday, New Year’s Eve skier at Whitetail Resort in southeast Pennsylvania. Said to be a middle-aged male, pronounced dead by local EMS after being transported down by ski patrol. No other details available…also on Sunday, 28-year-old snowboarder Scott Robert Hornstra of Alberta was found dead in a tree well at Whitefish Resort in Montana…high winds in Colorado this past weekend had Breckenridge and Eldora shut down on Saturday…similar wind and temp troubles in New England played a similar role; we know that upper lifts at Jay Peak VT, most of Mad River Glen VT, and all of Wildcat NH were closed due to extreme temps at some point this past weekend…back to the story on that snowboarding fatality at Whitefish…it’s the 4th tree well fatality at the popular western Montana resort since 2010, so as you might expect they have a statement that’s worth reading if you aren’t familiar with the dangers of tree wells:
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident. Any death at our resort is an event that impacts the entire Whitefish Mountain Resort community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends as they cope during this difficult time. This accident is another unfortunate reminder that tree wells are an inherent risk of the sport. We encourage our guests to take extra caution when skiing in the trees and deep snow. Ski with a partner and keep them in sight. Call ski patrol immediately if someone is missing. Be as precise as you can in describing the trail name and location as well as the description of the missing person. We will continue to help our guests understand the risks and encourage educating themselves on this subject. An excellent resource for learning more about tree wells and deep snow safety is the website deepsnowsafety.org.”
Top photo today shows the North Summit view at Whitefish Resort. Whitefish is spot-on with this statement and we appreciate their efforts to help skiers and snowboarders understand the risks of tree skiing.