A Santa Rosa man died in a skiing accident last week at Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe.
Lewis Carrillo III, 49, hadn’t been skiing in seven years when he hit the beginner’s slope with a friend this past Wednesday, said his father, Lewis Carrillo Jr., 74, also of Santa Rosa. He said the friend was teaching his son to ski at the bottom of the slope when he somehow drifted off to the edge and fell several feet before crashing into a tree.
“He had a full life. He was only 49, but packed a lot into it,” Carrillo Jr. said of his son, who went by his middle name — Lucky.
Carrillo was not married and did not have children. He was known for his tremendous sense of humor and love for karaoke, his father said. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College before transferring to UC Davis, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in archaeology about 26 years ago. He occasionally worked for the state, conducting archaeological surveys on various sites, his father said.
He’d traveled to the Tahoe resort to meet with some friends who were visiting from Los Angeles and Australia after spending the past several weekends working at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace in Daly City, his father said.
“He got to be with his friends Tuesday,” he said.
The accident happened the following day about 2:30 p.m., El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Prencipe said. Heavenly Mountain officials said the crash occurred near a beginner run called Poma Trail.
Ski patrol and other emergency officials responded but attempts to revive Carrillo but were unsuccessful. An autopsy was completed late last week, but the results weren’t available Tuesday, Prencipe said.
Personnel from the Lake Valley Fire Protection District responded to the accident. Firefighters had to use a rope to get Carrillo out of the sunken area surrounding the tree trunk he hit, Fire Chief Tim Alameda told a local newspaper.
“Heavenly Mountain Resort, Heavenly Ski Patrol, and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest’s family and friends,” said Mike Goar, vice president of mountain division and chief operating officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort.
The elder Carrillo said he has received calls from his son’s friends from across the U.S. saddened to learn about his death. His son spent his childhood living in various parts of the country with his mother and her husband, who was in the Navy. He then moved at the age of 15 to Santa Rosa to live full-time with his father, who also was in the Navy.
“He could make friends instantly,” his dad said. “He never judged anybody and he listened. He tried to help anybody who was in trouble. He was that type of guy who would go out of his way to meet a friend at 2 o’clock in the morning just to talk over coffee.”
For employment, he also drove a taxi and picked up some acting roles in a few small films. He had friends in the film business, said the elder Carrillo, who shared a condo with his son.
“He was a great companion,” Lewis Carrillo Jr. said.