Family of Foreign-Exchange Student Suing Slopes Where He Died - News, Sports and Weather

Family of Foreign-Exchange Student Suing Slopes Where He Died

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According to these court documents, a German foreign-exchange student died on one of these hills behind me back in December, 2010 at Whitefish Mountain Resort, and now his family is looking to see not only the resort in court, but also his Columbia Falls host family. 

The court papers say at about 11 AM on December 29, 2010, Niclas Waschle was found trapped under snow near the T-Bar Two ski lift. By the time people noticed his skis sticking up out of the snow, he began to suffocate. He apparently fell into a large pocket of unpacked snow near a tree, also known as a tree well.  

He died three days later in KRMC after doctors said he was brain dead.  His parents are claiming where he fell was not marked off in any way, and the resort did not do its part to warn skiers. They even point out, ten days later, a 29-year-old Kalispell snowboarder died near the same spot. 

They also point fingers at World Experience, the group that helped place Niclas with the American family, Fred and Lynn Vanhorn, saying both exposed Niclas to "unreasonably risky behavior." They go on to say Fred Vanhorn was a ski instructor at the Big Mountain ski area, and should have known better than to let Niclas ski alone. 

The parents, Raimund Waschle and Patricia Birkhold-Waschle, are looking to get compensation for their medical bills and grief.

Parker Collins, ABC/FOX Montana.

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