China Peak is finally getting the snow it’s been waiting for all year; the resort calling it a "March miracle," but with the miracle came tragedy.
Flakes fell over the weekend, coating the Central Sierra in 6-feet of snow. The icy conditions proving dangerous for drivers; it’s a danger that turned deadly over the weekend. “People flock to the new, deep snow but with it comes a risk,” says Rich Bailey a manager a China Peak.
The newly fallen snow took the life of 30-year-old Kynan Stanner. “He fell forward and was immersed in the snow,” says Bailey. Stanner was riding down the resorts double black diamond when he fell head first into five feet of snow. Ski Patrol says he couldn’t get out and died from suffocation.
Stanner was said to be a skilled boarder. He was from the Bass Lake he held a season pass; he wasn't a stranger to the toughest slopes. “You think you may know the beast but you never do,” says Stanner. “It’s a tragic situation; we don't take it lightly.”
Stanner wasn't riding alone; he was with a group of friends and became separated. It’s a situation boarders say happens all the time. “Sometimes we lose each other it happens quickly and then you’re on the lift three times longer than the run,” says Tanner Louen who’s been skiing for two years.
“That's our biggest push ski and ride with a partner ride with in ability,” says Bailey.
Officials ask everyone to take extra precautions—bring a cell phone, take lessons/safety classes, ski within your ability, wear bright clothing and always keep your partner in view.
The tragedy is reminding boarders of the dangers ahead. “This year it’s a lot lighter to where you can go right through the snow,” says Dominic Cavalla who’s been snowboarding for six years.
With more snow expected in the coming weeks, ski management is reminding those heading up “To me education and prevention are the cure; I can’t over state that,” says Bailey.
This is the second death in the past two years; last year a snowboarder was killed after being buried in a deep snow.
Christina Lusby Reporting.