Bulletin Staff Report

One of two nordic skiers rescued March 6 after becoming lost and sheltering in a tree well near Bend has died. Ted Gifford, 69, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, died Friday at St. Charles Bend, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Gifford and Robert Skill, 73, had embarked March 5 on a multiday, backcountry nordic ski trip and had planned to stop overnight at warming shelters. They became lost, however, and could not find a shelter on their first night out. They took cover instead in a tree well, according to the sheriff’s office.

The pair also lost one of their cellphones, and their remaining phone had questionable service. They tried to call for help a number of times without success, according to the sheriff’s office, before getting through to 911. Gifford and Skill were found March 6 in the Happy Valley area northwest of Tumalo Falls.

Skille, who lives in Silverton, was treated at St. Charles and released, according to hospital spokesperson Lisa Goodman.

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