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Woman skiing with fiance on Valentine’s Day hits tree, dies at Ski Santa Fe

SANTA FE — A Valentine Day’s getaway for a military couple engaged to married turned tragic Saturday when the bride-to-be crashed into a tree and was killed while skiing at Ski Santa Fe.

The victim is identified in a sheriff’s office report as Angela Marie Erale, 30, of El Paso, who was believed to have been stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Erale was skiing with her fiancĂ© Kevin Wellendorf, 36, when she hit the tree and died of apparent head injuries, said Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office report.

The report does not indicate whether Erale was wearing a helmet.

According to the report, deputy Joe Vigil was called to the ski area at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday and was told that medics were out with the accident victim and that she was dead at the scene. Vigil spoke with ski instructor Brian Nees who responded to the accident and found Erale lying in the snow on the Alpine Bowl about half way up the mountain.

Nees started CPR and when help arrived, Erale was taken down the mountain in a rescue sled. Two emergency room doctors were at the base of the ski area and they assisted with CPR. “Attempts to revive the victim were unsuccessful,” the report states.

Wellendorf told a deputy that the twosome had been skiing all day and had skied all of the Green Diamond runs and that Erale wanted to try a more difficult Blue Diamond run. Wellendorf said he was in front of Erale for most of the run but “he kept stopping to view the mountain which caused Ms. Erale to have a difficult time skiing.”

Wellendorf told her to ski in front for the rest of the run. But with Erale a short distance in front of him, he saw her lose control, according tot he deputy’s report. Wellendorf yelled at her “to just let herself fall” but she hit the tree. Wellendorf said he had not skied for 11 years and Erale had not skied for five years. Ski instructor Nees said Erale was using rented ski equipment “which is maintained regularly and was in good condition,” the report states.

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A 30-year-old woman in the military, skiing with her fiance, struck a tree and died from apparent head injuries while skiing at Ski Santa Fe on Saturday afternoon, according to a Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office report.

The victim is identified in the report as Angela Marie Erale of El Paso, Texas.

According to the report, Erale crashed into and wrapped around a tree on the Alpine Bowl about one-half way up the mountain. Erale’s fiance Kevin Wellendorf told a deputy that the twosome had been skiing Green Diamond runs but that she wanted to try a Blue Diamond.

Erale was skiing a short distance in front of Wellendorf when he saw her lose control. He yelled at her “to just let herself fall” but she hit the tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Attempts to revive the victim were unsuccessful. The Office of the Medical Examiner was notified and responded to the scene,” the report states.

Wellendorf said he had not skied for 11 years and Erale had not skied for five years.

A spokesman at the ski area referred inquiries to the sheriff’s office.

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