Snowboarder Dies at China Peak

The snowboarder who died at China Peak Mountain Resort on Sunday afternoon, in what’s been described by employees as a tragic accident, has been identified as Kynan Stanners, 30.

Employees say Stanners, who had worked as a firefighter for CALFIRE for the past seven years, was alone when he went head first into about five feet of snow in an area known as “The Face.” He had been going to resort for several years, was a season pass holder, and considered an expert snowboarder, resort employees said.

“Actually skied or snowboarded here for many years. And in particular, that general area many times yesterday and in the past,” said Rich Bailey, Mountain Manager.

Employees say Stanners somehow got separated from a friend, fell head-first into the snow at around 2pm Sunday, and likely suffocated to death. Two expert skiers noticed the bottom of his snowboard, got him out of the snow and started to perform CPR, they added. Crews brought him down the mountain. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but it was too late, they said.

Many skiers and snowboarders up enjoying the fresh powder at the resort on Monday were unaware of Sunday’s tragedy. They told CBS47 safety is key anytime you’re on the slopes.

“Always have another person with you, so that if you do get hurt out in the face or its really powdery, they can help and help you out,” said Cole Davis of Porterville.

“Just look for other people, watch people on your back, stuff like that,” said Ryan Nazaroff of Kerman.

One thing that’s really important is we use the buddy system, that we stay within our abilities,” said Bailey.

Stanners was most recently stationed out of the Caruthers fire station in Fresno County, employees said. To honor him, flags were lowered to half staff Monday outside several valley fire stations.

Stanners’ death is the second at China Peak in the past 15 months. Eli Shelby, 29, died in late 2010 after falling into a tree well.

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