Teen Girl Dies In Sierra Ski Accident

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A 13-year-old California girl died from injuries she suffered in a skiing accident at a resort near Lake Tahoe, the first fatality of the new ski season in the Sierra.

Bridgette Clement of Millbrae died Sunday from head and neck injuries she suffered when she hit a tree Friday on an intermediate run at Alpine Meadows, Washoe County Coroner Vernon McCarty said.

She was wearing a helmet, said Rachael Woods, spokeswoman for the ski resort on Highway 89 near Tahoe City.

Clement was skiing with friends the day after Thanksgiving, a clear, sunny day, down a groomed track called the Weasel Run, Woods said.

Ski resort officials were investigating the accident and reviewing statements collected from several witnesses, she told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

James Huston, 19, a snowboarder from Washoe City, Nev., said he was standing on the slope with some friends scoping out a jump when Clement flew by and hit one of several trees located in the middle of the run.

Huston said he didn't see Clement before she came by him, since they were facing the other direction, so he was not sure if she was out of control.

"Judging by how hard she hit and the sound it made she was going pretty fast," Huston said. "We assessed the situation, and I went down and got the ski patrol while the other guy stayed with her to do CPR."

Woods said she did not know the level of Clement's ski experience. Clement was airlifted by Care Flight to Washoe Medical Center in Reno, Nev., where she died, Woods said.

"It's just devastating, absolutely devastating," Woods said. "This is a case where something that is supposed to be fun turns into an absolute nightmare.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family."

During last year's ski season, at least two people skiing on Tahoe-area slopes died of head injuries.