One person was killed and another injured in an avalanche Wednesday morning at Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort in California's Olympic Valley.
“Avalanche causes one death and one injury” the Placer County Sheriff's Office said in an update Snow falls about four hours later.
The man who died Wednesday night was identified as Kenneth Kidd, 66, who lived in the Truckee and Point Reyes areas of the state.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Kidd's family and friends,” the sheriff's office said.
The other person buried did not have life-threatening injuries.
No one else is missing, the sheriff's office said. Smith said all search efforts had ended and “there was no one else on the mountain as a result of the avalanche.”
Michael Cross, vice president of mountain operations at Palisades Tahoe, said both the dead man and the injured man were visiting guests.
Two others got stuck in the avalanche, Gross said: one was “separated” by his partner, and the other was “helped” by other guests.
Gross said he didn't know how deep the people were buried in the snow.
The resort was closed on both sides of the hill for the rest of Wednesday.
The avalanche, which occurred around 9:30 a.m. local time, was on the Palisades side of the resort's mountain, Palisades Tahoe said. The sheriff's office added that it was specifically above the GS bowl area of KT-22.
An eyewitness to the avalanche described seeing many people buried and calling for help.
“Many were buried and many screamed as the GS bowl collapsed from top to bottom” Darian Shirazi Wrote in X. “My deepest condolences to the family of the deceased skier. It was a shocking and terrifying experience. Skiing is safe. “
KT-22 opened for the season at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Gross said. The ski patrol has been “doing avalanche control assessments since Sunday,” he said, including assessing the weather and setting up safety and hazard signs ahead of the ski season.
It has been reported that there is a risk of avalanche on Wednesday Sierra Avalanche CenterThis was due to a strong winter storm in the area.
Cross said it was “absolutely” common to open a section of the mountain despite severe weather and heavy snow warnings.
“We'll evaluate the conditions, and based on our expertise and our experience and history, if we think the conditions are safe, we'll open it,” Gross said.
Avalanche mitigation, Gross said, includes weather data — historical and current — as well as models including wind speed, snow path, density and wind direction.
Video by Live Storms Media, or LSM, shows dozens of fire engines and police vehicles at the foggy resort. The outlet reports that medical personnel are working on patients in the resort's medical building.
It described the avalanche as a “huge” one that resulted in “many traps and injuries”. Olympic Valley firefighters told LSM that at least one patient is receiving CPR and another is being treated for a broken leg.
“It's all hands at the moment,” a firefighter told LSM.
The Olympic Valley Fire Department responded to Palisades Tahoe Medical Clinic around 10 a.m. local time for reports of a man with a “lower leg injury.”
“Soon, my office is aware of the possibility of an avalanche in Palisades Tahoe,” Fire Chief Brad Chisholm said at a news conference.
Chisholm responded to the scene by saying he “started an incident with our dispatch” and then “began to mobilize resources.”
He said most of the incident took place on the mountain and was managed by the resort.
Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue was activated, the sheriff's office said. The sheriff's office is investigating the case through an autopsy, it said in an update.
The resort is located on the west side of Lake Tahoe and is just over 40 miles from Reno.