PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) – A skier who was killed after an avalanche in the Tahoe National Forest on Thursday afternoon has died doing what he loved, friends said.

The Nevada County Coroner on Friday identified the man as 29-year-old Benjamin Brackett of Olympic Valley.

The incident occurred 500 vertical feet below Stanford Rock off Highway 89 near the backside of Alpine Meadows in the Ward Valley area of Placer County. Brackett was transported to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee in critical condition and later pronounced dead.

Friends said Brackett was a fearless skier who died while pursuing his passion.

“He was a really good guy, and a lot of fun to ski with, a lot of fun to hang out with,” Adam Baillargeon told CBS13 on Friday. “Eyes that lit up the room.”

benjamin brackett 2 Skier Who Died After Avalanche Remembered As Always Cheerful

Benjamin Brackett

Brackett reportedly suffered a broken leg but the cause of his death wasn’t immediately available. Paramedics reportedly were performing CPR on him before arriving at the hospital.

The Sierra Avalanche Center, which has a detailed account of the fatal avalanche on their website, says Brackett first triggered a slab avalanche about one foot deep when he began skiing down the mountain.

It says he was able to stop himself from being taken down the slope by grabbing a tree. However, the avalanche then grew deeper, sweeping him down the slope and burying him.

According to the report: “His partners skied down, saw a ski protruding from the snowpack, and used their beacons to locate the buried skier. The avalanche buried the skier about three feet deep and wrapped him around some trees. It took them about 3 minutes to get to their buried partner.”

Deputies were notified of the incident at 2:50 p.m. At 3 p.m., rescuers from the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team equipped with a Snowcat and two snowmobiles began their search for Brackett.

An official with Squaw Valley says Brackett has worked at the resort since 2008 in their food and beverage department.

“I did not know Ben personally but what I understand from my co-workers is he was just one of those people who always had a smile on his face, always really cheerful,” said Julie Maurer of Squaw Valley. “I know that our guests loved him. We always had lots of great comments from the guests about him.”

Brackett was originally from Keene, New Hampshire.

“He’ll never be forgotten. I’m going to ski with him every day,” Baillargeon said.

skier killed Skier Who Died After Avalanche Remembered As Always Cheerful

Benjamin Brackett was an experienced extreme skier and worked at Squaw Valley. He was 29.

Comments (15)
  1. Catherine Wimpsett says:

    Why wasn’t there a flight for life? A few minutes may have made the difference? Tahoe is ready for these situations. I applaud the rescuers and I certainly could not have climbed up that mountain. Peace to Tahoe. Cat a past resident. Love Alpine Meadows!

    1. karen says:

      there was still too much danger for a helicopter to go into the area. it would have risked further lives if they were to set of more slides. it is explained in the report by SAS

  2. alan simpson says:

    it seems that “always being cheerful” didn’t really pan out in this case. anyway, tragic.

  3. Fred says:

    How much did it cost taxpayers to attempt to rescue this adventure-seeker?

    1. Mike says:

      Most of these search and recuse crews are highly trained volunteers.

    2. karen says:

      It cost you nothing you disrespectul jerk. It was a volunteer organization funded solely thru contributions from people with souls. something you clearly lack. this was my friend who died on that mountain and you should know more about something before you comment on it

    3. Dr. Jeff says:

      We take care of our own in Tahoe Fred. If your worried about your tax dollars try focusing on populations that don’t exercise or eat right like where you obviously live. Diabetes and heart disease will take more of your precious tax dollars than any “adventure-seeker” ever will. And by the way this “Adventure-seeker” had a name it was Ben. He was one of the most wonderful people out there which you obviously are not.

    4. Ryan says:

      Not as much as taxpayers pay for all the country’s obese chain smokers who gorging on fast food and never leaving the sofa.

    5. LouLou says:

      Fred. Get a job and start to pay taxes, then research the word ‘volunteer’. I love the hate right out of you…

      RIP Benny!

  4. Cmornos says:

    Such a tragedy. Condolences to all who knew and loved him.

  5. Robert Stewart says:

    What’s that like Stan, being cold-blooded and heartless???

  6. joey says:

    I guess there’s a job opening now?

    1. karen says:

      not that you would quailify. most employers are looking for people with souls. get a life jerk and stop relishing others losses. something is very wrong with you for you to even THINK that was cute or funny, much less to have nerve enough to post it publicly. your mother must be very proud of you

  7. karen says:

    And I’m a h.oo.ker, Any offers?

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