Skier, 51, collides with tree, dies

Mount Hood Meadows, as seen on their webcam, April 12, 2013
Mount Hood Meadows, as seen on their webcam, April 12, 2013

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. (KOIN) — A 51-year-old skier died after he collided with a tree along a groomed run at Mount Hood Meadows Friday.

Just after 2 p.m., Josef Desch of Happy Valley was skiing in clear-to-partly cloudy conditions just below the 7300-foot level in one of the more advanced runs high up on the hill.

“He went off the trail, apparently lost control and hit a tree,” Mount Head Meadows spokesperson Dave Tragethon told KOIN 6 News. “Our patrol began resuscitation and revival efforts and were joined by the medical center staff up here as well.”

Desch died at the scene.

Authorities aren’t clear on how Desch, an experienced skier who was wearing a helmet, ran into the tree. It’s the first ski fatality of the year at the resort and it comes as the ski season is starting to wind down.

Tragethon said the chances of being killed skiing are literally less than one in a million. But the age group involved in a growing number of ski accidents and fatalities is middle aged men wearing helmets.

“In some cases, the research is suggesting maybe the helmet provides a false sense of security so people feel they can go faster or you can take a little more risk,” he said.

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