Authorities identify snowboarder found dead at Heavenly

An interpreter for the deaf who was attending Deaf WinterFest 2023 at Heavenly Ski Resort was found dead on Wednesday.

New York resident 46-year-old snowboarder Wesley Whalen was identified as the deceased by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday.

Heavenly Communications Manager Cole Zimmerman confirmed a serious incident took place and said ski patrol responded to an expert trail near Roundabout on the California side of the resort where they discovered Whalen.

After further emergency care and evaluation, the man was pronounced deceased at the California Lodge base area and transferred to the El Dorado County Coroner.

Sgt. Alexander Sorey said his office received a call at 2:49 p.m. for a report of a deceased person. A coroner detective arrived after the decedent was pronounced dead by medical personnel and completed a death investigation.

The next of kin was notified.

“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,” said Tom Fortune, VP and COO of Heavenly and the Tahoe Region.

The U.S. Deaf Ski and Snowboard Association posted a note of condolence on Thursday.

“Our heart and thoughts are with his family and friends. We will endeavor to remember him and his love for adventure as we ski and snowboard with safety foremost in our minds.”


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