A 28-year-old snowboarder from Rio Rancho died Saturday afternoon at Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort.


Jairo Hernandez. Courtesy photo.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe identified the snowboarder on Sunday as Jairo Hernandez after his family was notified of his death, according to the Taos News. He said the investigation was continuing but had discovered nothing to indicate the resort was at fault.

Sipapu General Manager JP Bradley said the ski patrol at the resort south of Taos found Hernandez unresponsive along a tree line on an intermediate run minutes after receiving a call about a snowboarder in distress. They administered CPR.

Paramedics took over and transported Hernandez to a hospital, but he was pronounced dead. Hernandez, who was wearing a helmet, appeared to have struck a tree, Bradley said.

“Our condolences go out to the family,” he told the Taos News. “This is a small community, and we all feel this hit.”

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator transported the 28-year-old for an autopsy to determine cause of death.

Hernandez was a native of San Jose, Calif. He moved to New Mexico in 2015. He was a teller at a Wells Fargo in Rio Rancho from September 2015 to October 2019, and recently worked in the emergency room at Presbyterian Hospital.

Hernandez was a “great person with great charisma, always smiling with good energy,” said Wille Baez, a bank customer who became a friend of Hernandez. “He was a great family friend and also helped open my bank account. … I want to say it was around 2016 when I actually needed a bank account to go to college; he was the first person to meet my mom and I at the door and helped us open the bank account.”

His sister Catalina Hernandez and Paula Hartog started a GoFundMe account for her late brother’s funeral expenses: https://gofund.me/aac963fb.