Dylan Ridolfi, 15, an offensive lineman on the unbeaten Oak Ridge High School freshman football team, was sledding with about 10 family and friends at Mt. Rose Sunday afternoon when the accident occurred.
Football was a passion for the teen, who stood 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 240 pounds. He also had a soft spot in his heart for kids, invariably being drawn to the smallest in the room at gatherings.
"He was a big kid but he had a huge heart," said his father, Dan Ridolfi.
His father said that his son was on an inner tube and had traveled a short distance up a hill when he began a sledding run. His father said the area was icy because of the lack of recent snow.
Dylan Ridolfi lost control and hit a tree at the area known as Sheeps Flat in southern Washoe County, Nevada, near the Mt. Rose Highway.
Grief counselors were at Oak Ridge High School today. In addition, administrators were stopping in at the teen's classes to help any student having a hard time.
A candlelight vigil is planned at the Oak Ridge rock at 6:30 p.m. The landmark rock is in the 3300 block of El Dorado Hills Boulevard near the archery range.
"Football gave him structure and self-worth," his father said.
His dream was to study engineering at the University of Nevado, Reno, the alma mater of his parents. The year the teen began to take to football coincided with Colin Kaepernick's senior year at UNR. He saw Kaepernick play several times.
The family had spent the weekend staying at Incline Village, skiing on Saturday. On Sunday, they decided to go sledding at Mt. Rose.
"It was very, very icy," said his father. "He had gone up a hill. He had not gone more than 20 or 30 feet. He just picked up a head of steam and veered off the main area into a tree."
His father and others immediately started cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. A fire truck just happened to be near and fire personnel rendered aid soon after the accident.
A helicopter ambulance arrived, but unfortunately, Dylan Ridolfi died on the mountain.
"Dylan was one of those kids who got along with everybody," said his father. "He was in high school, but not in part of any clique.
"He always loved being around little kids. If there was a toddler in the room, he would be the one who would play with them and keep them happy. He didn't have to be with the adults or the teenagers."
He is survived by his father, mother Kristen Ridolfi, brother Andrew and sister Madison.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dylan Ridolfi with little brother Andrew after Oak Ridge High School clinched the league title. Dan Ridolfi, courtesy photo