A funeral mass will be held at noon today for a Pleasanton teen who died Monday at Dodge Ridge ski resort.
Nineteen-year-old Aline Christina Martins, a Pleasanton native who attended Amador Valley High School, was believed to have suffocated after falling into a tree well with a thick patch of snow that had fallen over the weekend.
According to Tuolumne County Sheriff's spokesman Paul Tualla, Martins was snowboarding with her brother when they became separated.
"They got separated at some point in the late afternoon," Tualla said. "She didn't meet up with him and he contacted the ski patrol. They sent out a search party to look for her. They eventually located her by a tree."
Sally Helm, who owns the ski resort with her husband, Frank Helm, said Martins' brother first contacted the ski patrol at about 1 p.m.
"Then, at that time, we initiated a message board system and paging system, looking for the sister," Helm said. "Then, he returned to ski patrol right around 4:40."
At that time, as the chair lifts were closing down and skiers and boarders were leaving, the resort initiated a search for Martins.
"We began a systematic approach to getting people out around the base area, getting all of the patrollers to the location of where she was last seen by her brother," Helm said.
Rescuers performed CPR, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Helm said first responders could not detect a pulse and Martins was not breathing.
"Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family," Helm said. "We were just all very sad here."
A tree well is an area between trees where new snow can build up and form pockets. Skiers and snowboarders can quickly become trapped. Dodge Ridge is located in Pinecrest, about 30 miles from Sonora.
An autopsy was conducted Tuesday to determine an official cause of death, Tualla said, but the coroner has not released the results yet.
Martins and her family moved to Danville from Pleasanton last year, and she finished her senior year through San Ramon's Venture independent study school. Prior to that, she attended Harvest Park Middle, Mohr Elementary and Alisal Elementary schools. She recently moved to Santa Barbara and was attending Santa Barbara City College with a major in child psychology. She was said to love children and had always enjoyed being a nanny, both locally and in Santa Barbara. She was known to always have a smile on her face.
"She was a sweet girl," said family friend Debra Block.
Martins was born June 26, 1989 and was the daughter of Adenise Medeiros and Armelio Martins. She is also survived by her siblings, Jardel and Murillo Martins. She was a granddaughter, niece and cousin to family in Brazil.
On Jan. 29, she was naturalized and became a U.S. citizen. She modeled, played soccer for Amador, was a gymnast and a straight-A student. For a time, she worked at ClubSport Pleasanton.
The services will be held at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 3999 Bernal Ave., including a visitation from 10 a.m. to noon and a funeral mass beginning at noon.
Donations in her honor may be made to the Children's Make A Wish Foundation.