Bogus Basin crash claimed beloved ski patrol volunteer
Cesar Quijano, 80, died Saturday morning of blunt force trauma in the single-vehicle rollover on the road to Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area. That’s according to an autopsy report released Tuesday afternoon by the Ada County Coroner’s Office.
Quijano, a retired architect from Boise, was involved with the volunteer ski patrol at Bogus for more than 40 years. He’s credited with re-designing the main ski patrol building in 1985 — it was doubled in size — and designing the ski patrol buildings on top of chair lifts #1 and #3.
“He was funny, generous and outgoing,” said Kevin Hudson, a 61-year-old longtime ski patrol member who saw Quijano as a mentor and friend.
“He will be sorely missed. We send our love and prayers to his family.”
Hudson said Quijano was one of 160 people involved with ski patrol at Bogus. Paid patrol works during the week, and the volunteers take over on weekends.
“He was still current on ski patrol. He still skied but he was physically limited,” said Hudson, noting that Quijano was involved in a lot of out-of-area rescues.
The Saturday crash occurred at about 8:30 a.m. near milepost 4, which is about a quarter of the way up to the ski area. Quijano was headed up the mountain.
His full-sized Hummer went about 100 feet down an embankment and came to rest on its top in Dry Creek, according to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office. He was wearing his seatbelt.
Reports from witnesses indicated the vehicle was not speeding, sheriff’s office spokesman Patrick Orr said.
“Looks like he lost control coming out of the curve,” Orr said. Slick conditions may have been a factor, he said.
Hudson said ski patrol members were devastated when they heard about the crash Saturday.
“This is not something that happens, not to people on the patrol,” Hudson said. “We know the road.”
Hudson, who drove up Bogus Basin Road about 90 minutes before Quijano, said he didn’t think the road was that slick. He speculated that his friend fainted or suffered some other medical condition before the crash.
But the stretch of Bogus Basin where Quijano went off — on the straight-away between two curves — is known to be a trouble spot on the windy two-lane mountain road.
“It doesn’t get a lot of sun,” Bogus Basin General Manager Alan Moore said. “It’s shaded by the mountains.
“That spot is something that operational crews are well aware of, and they typically do three passes.”
The National Weather Service did not have data for what conditions near the site of the crash were like Saturday. But a dense fog advisory was in effect for the West Treasure Valley that morning and patchy fog reduced visibility at the Boise Airport to about 2.5 miles, a meteorologist said. The temperature was 23 at the airport.
Per a 1997 agreement with the Ada County Highway District, Bogus Basin crews plow snow and lay sand (provided by ACHD) on Bogus Basin Road from Highlands Elementary School to the ski area.
The highway district does concern itself with other safety-related issues.
“We have investigated the area near the crash, and we did not see any safety issues at this time,” ACHD spokeswoman Nicole Pineda said Tuesday.
Pineda said there are 66 concrete barriers and four 10-foot sections of guard rail along the 16 miles from Hill Road to the ski area. But there is no guardrail in the area where Quijano’s vehicle went off the road.
ACHD plans to do more improvements on the road soon. The agency obtained a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the road between mileposts 3 and 9. The highway district has to provide a 7.3 percent match to the federal grant.
Improvement plans go before commissioners in mid-February, and ACHD officials hope to have the first set of improvements done by late summer.
Proposed improvements include replacing asphalt curbs with concrete curbs, shoulder repair, addition of slow-vehicle turnouts, new signs, roadside ditches and storm drains, and new guardrails.
The areas under consideration for new guard rails do not include the section of the fatal crash Saturday, Pineda said.
A memorial service for Quijano is planned for 4 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 775 N. 8th St., Boise.