The father of the boy who died after a skiing accident last month at Mt. Bachelor said conditions on the mountain were the iciest he had ever experienced.
“It’s not something I’ve seen at all in my 25 years as a skier,” said Brian Boice, of Tacoma, Washington, the father of Brecken Boice, 9.
Brecken was injured around 2:20 p.m. Jan. 16 while on an intermediate run near the summit. Brecken, who was wearing a helmet, was airlifted to St. Charles Bend, where surgery was attempted. He died later that day.
The Boices had traveled to Bend with another Tacoma-area family. The parents are experienced skiers and had skied at Mt. Bachelor before, but it was new for their two sons.
It’s difficult for Brian Boice to talk about what happened on the mountain, about the moment his son started sliding away from the group.
“He got away from us,” he said. “That’s really all I can say.”
Much of the local online chatter afterward centered on the conditions on the mountain that day, often describing the slopes as icy. The ski resort has been tight-lipped with the media, working through a spokesperson, who released a written statement:
“When considering opening terrain at Mt. Bachelor, safety is our number one priority. Several variables are considered in terrain management decisions. These include analysis of snow levels on different aspects of the 360-degree mountain, visibility, and the inherent conditions of the terrain. Only after these factors have been carefully assessed will terrain management decisions be made by the Mt. Bachelor team. Warnings and guest reminders are provided on the Mt. Bachelor conditions page and at the bottom and top of chairlifts and at the top of runs, where applicable,” the statement reads.
Brian Boice said his son, who loved robotics, dreamed of becoming an engineer. He also loved to skateboard and had been skiing since he was 4.
Brecken had two best friends and together they called themselves the “three amigos,” his father said.
He’s been remembered as a good older sibling who included his brother in fun and games, and also as a “steadfast and devoted” friend.
“Brecken Boice was a bright and pure soul who brought so much joy to this world,” reads his obituary. “He was so kind and beautiful and easy to love.”
Brian Boice and his wife, Angela, are lawyers in Tacoma, partners at the family-run Boice Law Firm. Brian has practiced in civil litigation for more than a decade, but Angela took a less conventional route to the bar, working first as an assistant in her husband’s office until starting law school in 2017 and, last year, joining Brian as an equal partner at the firm.
Brian Boice said the family doesn’t yet know if it will pursue litigation against Mt. Bachelor.
“We haven’t made any determination that way. It’s one of those deals,” he said, his voice nearly trailing off. “We’re emotionally crushed right now.”
After returning to Tacoma from Bend, Angie Boice replied to a post on the Facebook page of St. Patrick Catholic School, where Brecken attended the fourth grade. She was mourning one son and watching out for the other, Toren.
“Toren is 89% sure that he wants to go to school tomorrow. Please remember that he needs to be a normal little boy right now,” she wrote.
For now, the Boices are focused on maintaining their daily routines. They acknowledge this is next to impossible given the magnitude of their loss, but still, it’s important to try.
“We have another son,” Brian Boice said. “When you lose one son, you can’t lose ’em both.”
The family is not planning a memorial service. A GoFundMe page had raised nearly $60,000 for the Boices as of Friday.