Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityReno native, local hotshot firefighter captain dies after skiing accident at Mt. Rose | KRNV
Close Alert

Reno native, local hotshot firefighter captain dies after skiing accident at Mt. Rose

Damian Rivadeneyra (Courtesy: Mashal{ }Rivadeneyra)
Damian Rivadeneyra (Courtesy: Mashal Rivadeneyra)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

A Reno native and local hotshot firefighter captain died after a skiing accident at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe in December, according to his wife.

37-year-old Damian Rivadeneyra passed away at Renown hospital on Dec. 28, 2019 after complications from hitting a tree while skiing the day before.

Mt. Rose ski patrol officials confirmed to News 4-Fox 11 that ski patrollers responded to a single skier accident on Dec. 27 after someone saw a man against a tree in the snow from the chairlift.

They said that he was found against a tree and medical personnel transported him to the hospital via Care Flight. Ski patrol used his phone to call Mashal from the slopes.

"They said they were sorry to tell me this over the phone but he was found face down in the well," Rivadeneyra said.

She said he was face down long enough in the snow that he started to lose oxygen in his brain, causing his organs to start to fail later that night.

"I had the doctor come and meet with me and ask if there was any way that he was going to be alive at all or if I'm just going to prolong the inevitable. He said there was no way."

Damian passed away around 6 a.m. on Dec. 28. Before his heartbeat stopped —she said, 'I love you.'

He had a tear when I was saying goodbye to him. That's my last memory of him because I feel like he was awake and able to hear that before he passed.

Because of Rivadeneyra's dangerous line of work, Mashal had prepared herself for a possible tragedy one day, but never thought it would happen like this.

"If he had passed in a fire, I wouldn't have gotten to say goodbye. I wouldn't have gotten to be with him until the very last minute, so for me, I'm grateful for that," she said.

Rivadeneyra, who was born and raised in Reno, started teaching ski lessons at Mt. Rose at 17 years old. He graduated from Galena High School after wrestling and playing football and soon became a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service.

About 8 years ago, he joined the Beckwourth hotshots, a firefighting unit with the U.S. Forest Service in the Plumas National Forest and was promoted to captain a year ago.

"He lived a great, fulfilling, adventurous life and I know it's hard not to be sad and mourn his passing but he touched so many lives."

A celebration of Damian's life will be held at the Reno Elks Lodge at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is planning a ceremonial balloon release in his honor on Jan. 18.

Comment bubble

If you are looking to help the Rivadeneyra family, you can find the GoFundMe here.

Loading ...