▶️ Bend snowboarder killed in avalanche at Paulina Peak identified


A Bend snowboarder killed in an avalanche at Paulina Peak Wednesday has been identified.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says Erik Hefflefinger, 33, was snowboarding with friends when an avalanche swept him away and over a cliff at around 12:50 pm. His two friends, also from Bend and who had already made their descent when the avalanche happened, found him and immediately began CPR and other lifesaving measures. 

DCSO says Oregon State Police responded to the incident after receiving two SOS notifications from the area, however they were unable to get to the scene because of snow conditions. Deschutes County Search and Rescue (SAR) deployed three volunteers using Airlink. When they got there around 4 p.m., DCSO said Hefflefinger’s pulse was faint, so they began life saving measures. 

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At 5 p.m., SAR determined Hefflefinger was beyond help and they stopped. DCSO said. They transported him to the 10-mile snow park, where he was then taken to the funeral home. 

DCSO said it was determined that Hefflefinger possibly hit a tree when he was swept away.

The three snowboarders used snowmobiles to approach the area and made a final approach on skis and snowboards. 

The summit of Paulina Peak is 7,984 feet. It’s the highest point on the Newberry Volcano.

Earlier this month, experienced backcountry skier Aaron Griffith, of Bend, was killed by an avalanche while skiing with a friend at Black Crater, north of the Three Sisters.

DCSO said that prior to these two fatalities, it has been nine years since a fatality has been recorded directly due to an avalanche.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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