Weekend accident kills snowmobile racing standout Raysha Nielsen
Franklin Basin • 21-year-old Raysha Nielsen was a passenger in snowmobile that hit tree.
Published: February 24, 2014 09:44AM
Updated: February 24, 2014 08:12PM

A weekend snowmobiling accident in southeastern Idaho claimed the life of Raysha Nielsen, an up-and-coming racer on the regional competitive snowmobiling circuit.

Nielsen, the 21-year-old daughter of Rich Gladfelder, owner of Logan’s Renegade Sports, died when the snowmobile on which she was a passenger struck a tree in the Franklin Basin area, east of Franklin, Idaho, on Saturday.

Franklin County Sheriff David Fryar said Monday that his deputies responded to a 911 call at 3:37 p.m. Saturday reporting that Nielsen had “hit a tree and had severe injuries, and was going in and out of consciousness,” he stated.

Search and rescue crew members reached the accident site and immediately began efforts to resuscitate the by-then-unresponsive Nielsen. Medical personnel also soon landed in a helicopter and attempted life-saving measures, but she could not be revived and was pronounced dead, Fryar said.

Witnesses reported that Nielsen and her unidentified companion were returning from a day of snowmobiling and as they neared an unloading area, the machine she was riding suddenly accelerated on a turn and hit the tree.

The accident remained under investigation. The sheriff did not disclose further details, including the identity of the snowmobiler’s driver.

A 2010 graduate of Sky View High School, Nielsen — who leaves behind husband and fellow snowmobile racer, Cory Nielsen, and a young son — had become a frequent top-three finisher for Team Polaris in Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hillclimb Association races. Nielsen’s Facebook page says she had been employed as an office manager at Renegade Sports as well as being the owner of a nail care shop.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims