Skiers die in separate incidents at Squaw Valley and Breckenridge

Squaw Valley Breckenridge skier deaths
Skiers have died over the past four days in tragic incidents at both Squaw Valley (above) and Breckenridge. Photo: Courtesy of Squaw Valley

While the prevalence of avalanche-related deaths in the United States this year has only reaffirmed the dangers of skiing out of bounds, two deaths over a four-day span at Breckenridge Ski Resort and Squaw Valley Ski Resort have illuminated the danger present while skiing inbounds.

RELATED: U.S. avalanche death toll rises as 2 more fatalities recorded

On Saturday, at Squaw Valley in the Lake Tahoe region of California, 62-year-old local Elizabeth Danel fell while skiing on steep, expert terrain and slid into a stand of trees. Despite wearing a helmet, Danel was unconscious and unresponsive when ski patrol arrived on the scene, and she was pronounced dead at 2:27 p.m.

SKiers die at Breckenridge and Squaw Valley
Elizabeth Danel (above) was an extremely active 62-year-old who died Saturday at Squaw Valley in California. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Lohrey

On Tuesday, in a separate incident, a yet-to-be-identified 26-year-old male was skiing at Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado when he fell on an intermediate trail around 11:15 a.m. Per the Denver Post, ski patrol “provided advanced life support” to the man, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a local emergency clinic.

Though it might be tempting to attribute their deaths to two skiers recklessly skiing above their skill level, all signs point to the incidents being freak accidents.

According to family members, despite her age, Danel was an extremely advanced skier who had moved to the Squaw Valley area so that she could ski nearly every day.

“Skiing was her passion. She lived for it,” Danel’s daughter, Rachael Lohrey, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Her children and skiing were her passions. My mom had a wonderful life. She biked, she did triathlons, she traveled. But I think most importantly … she loved her children.”

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