Oregon ski area sued over Tacoma child’s death

Aug 11, 2022, 9:51 AM
Photo from the Associated Press...
Photo from the Associated Press

The parents of a 9-year-old child who died skiing at Mt. Bachelor ski area in central Oregon last year have filed a $49 million wrongful death lawsuit against the resort and its parent company, Powdr Corp.

Angela and Brian Boice of Tacoma, Washington, filed the lawsuit Aug. 2 over the death of Brecken, who slid down one of the ski area’s slopes and crashed into rocks, The Bulletin reported.

The lawsuit was filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court and alleges on the day of Brecken’s death that conditions were extremely icy and the chairlift and ski runs near the summit should not have been open.

“The negligence and/or fault of defendants (caused) Brecken Boice to incur pain and suffering and terror during his fall and prior to the time of his death,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit contains more details than had previously been released by authorities or Mt. Bachelor.

On Jan. 16, 2021, Brian and Brecken, who had been skiing since age 4, rode the Summit Express chairlift to access intermediate runs near the top. According to the lawsuit, resort employees had told them conditions at the summit were good, with minimal ice buildup. But when Brian and Brecken got to the top, they encountered severe ice at the unloading area, according to the complaint.

“Brecken fell and started to slide down the mountain,” the lawsuit states.

Brian Boice tried unsuccessfully to stop his son’s slide and began his own uncontrolled descent down the Healy Heights run, losing clothing and hitting rocks while watching his son do the same.

After coming to a stop, Brian Boice went to his his son and tried to comfort and protect him from other skiers who had lost control on the ice, according to the lawsuit.

Ski patrol employees arrived approximately 12 minutes later and called for emergency helicopter transport, according to the lawsuit. Brecken died at a hospital later that day. The lawsuit alleges the ski area was negligent.

John McLeod, Mt. Bachelor president and general manager, said in an emailed statement Wednesday that everyone at Mt. Bachelor continues to convey their deepest condolences to Brecken’s family.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of this incident due to pending litigation, this is a tragedy which affected our whole mountain community,” McLeod said. “Our thoughts are with everyone who was impacted by the events on that day.”

There have been seven ski-related deaths there since 2018. Three of those happened last winter.

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Oregon ski area sued over Tacoma child’s death