46-year-old New York man dies on mountain at California ski resort, officials say

J.R. Stone Image
Friday, March 3, 2023
New York man dies on mountain at CA ski resort, officials say
Wesley Whalen, a 46-year-old New York man, died after an incident at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe on Wednesday, resort officials said.

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A man is dead after an incident at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe on Wednesday, according to resort officials.

They say Heavenly Ski Patrol responded to the incident on an expert trail near roundabout where they immediately provided care to the 46-year-old Wesley Whalen of New York.

Whelan was pronounced dead at short time later at the California Lodge Base Area and transferred to the El Dorado County Coroner.

Those who knew him say he was snowboarding at the time but that has not been confirmed by authorities.

MORE: Pro skier from Lake Tahoe killed in avalanche in Japan, family says

We've learned that Whalen was a strong voice and translator for those in the deaf community. Friends of his tell us Whalen helped those in that community with things like job applications.

The U.S. Deaf Ski and Snowboard Association posted about his passing on Facebook Thursday along with many of his friends and those individuals he represented in the deaf community.

Tom Fortune, COO of Heavenly, issued a statement saying, ""Heavenly Mountain Resort, Heavenly Ski Patrol, and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest's family and friends."

South Lake Tahoe has been hit hard by snow in recent weeks. Heavenly posting Wednesday that they had received 24 inches of snow in 24 hours. We talked with those just back to San Francisco from the Sierra who say it's been extremely busy there.

VIDEO: Here's a look at what the Sierra faced as snow buried homes, cars

It is an absolute mess in the Sierra with homes and cars buried in snow and an avalanche that slammed into a building in Olympic Valley in Tahoe.

"There's too many people up in Tahoe now. Now it's like you can't even snowboard anymore, it's like you're dodging people and it's insane," said snowboarder Lawrence Huinh.

"We have to be aware of the new conditions and be prepared for the changing conditions," said skier Antonio Carpo.

The circumstances behind Whalen's death are unclear but it appears there are a number of trees in the area of the roundabout where this "serious incident" took place.

The coroner's officer says the cause of death is unknown at this time but a autopsy was completed Thursday.

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