Noval Matteson, 01-02-06

Wasilla boy dies in Hatcher Pass sled accident
Noval Matteson
5-YEAR-OLD: The child lost control on his last run and hit a pickup that had stopped.

By MATT WHITE Anchorage Daily News

Published: January 4, 2006 WASILLA -- A 5-year-old Wasilla boy was killed in a sledding accident Monday on an access road at Hatcher Pass.

Noval Matteson of Wasilla was finishing a day of sledding with his father and brother on Hatcher Pass Ski Area Road, an access road recently built at the proposed site of a new ski area in the park, near Mile 11 Palmer-Fishhook Road.

The boy lost control of his sled, Alaska State Troopers said, as a pickup came up the hill. The driver, seeing the boy out of control, pulled over and stopped, but Noval hit the truck at full speed.

The boy's father, Noel Matteson, and the pickup driver attempted to call 911 but had difficulty connecting. Matteson eventually informed dispatchers he was driving the boy out of the pass, and a Butte first-responder and Palmer ambulance met him at Edgerton Park Road, at about Mile 8.

By then, Palmer ambulance chief Ulla Stice said, the boy had no pulse and medics began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in the ambulance. Noval was pronounced dead at Valley Hospital shortly before 5 p.m., according to troopers.
Noval Matteson
A well-established sledding trail is farther up the pass, and a new sledding hill is at the top of Hatcher Pass Ski Area Road.

"Some people find the road to be more interesting than the sledding hill," said Hatcher Pass park ranger Pat Murphy. "Just a few days ago, I didn't like driving it. It gets icy. I had it in four-wheel low going down."

Noval's death was exactly the kind of accident rangers have feared for years, Murphy said.

"That's the kind of scenario we've always been thinking of when we are hard on people for skiing down the road," Murphy said .

Fines for skiing or sledding on the road can be $60, he said.

Tuesday, Tina Matteson, the boy's mother, said the accident happened on Noval's last run of the day. Her husband, she said, had already told Noval and his brother, Zay mar, 8, that their sledding day was over, but Noval begged for one more ride.

"He is a very daring boy, a very stubborn boy," she said. "It's hard to say no to him."

Relatives and friends filled the Mattesons' home Tuesday, their vehicles filling the steep gravel driveway of the pink house on Mulchatna Drive.

Noval, his mother said, "loved his family a lot. He was a happy boy, always smiling. He was like his father. He looked very much like his father. His father loves his wife, and he loved his mother."

Looking down at the family's almost bare yard, she said, "Noval loved to play in the snow. He loved to go sledding or skiing. Usually they would be playing in the snow in the back yard, but there is no snow."

Matteson said Noval had wanted to go cross-country skiing with her this winter. "Now I don't have that chance."

Noval attended kindergarten at Larson Elementary, Matteson said. School officials there said children at the school had all been informed of the boy's death by a school psychologist and the parents of his kindergarten classmates had each been contacted.


Daily News reporter Matt White can be reached at 1 (907) 352-6711 or