Whitman student killed in skiing accident

Josh Goodman

UPDATE 8:45 P.M.: An all-campus gathering in remembrance and celebration of Richard O’Brien’s life is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Reid Campus Center Young Ballroom. Richard’s parents, extended family and friends will be in attendance. The gathering is limited to Whitman students, faculty and staff.

UPDATE 11:02 P.M.: President George Bridges released the name of the student killed earlier today in a skiing accident to the Whitman community via e-mail. First-year Richard O’Brien of Davis, Calif. was killed when he hit a tree at the popular Bluewood Ski Area.

O’Brien lived in the 2-West section of Jewett Hall and was involved in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Bridges called the situation “terribly difficult and confusing,” and noted the importance of the community coming together in the aftermath of this tragedy.

“The expressions of concern you are extending to one another: particularly to Richard’s close friends, fellow skiers and 2-West and Beta companions: will provide hope and comfort as we move through these first few particularly challenging days and weeks,” Bridges said.

A celebration of Richard’s life  will be held at a to-be-determined time within the coming days.

ORIGINAL POST: A Whitman student was killed today when he hit a tree while skiing at Bluewood Ski Area. The student’s name has not been released.

“We have not yet been able to speak with the student’s parents. That is why I am withholding the name at this time,” said President George Bridges in an e-mail to the Whitman community.

According to the e-mail, the student was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Bluewood Ski Area is 52 miles east of Walla Walla.