One person died and another was 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.
No other information about the man who died “as a result of an avalanche” has been released pending an investigation by corner's office Sgt. Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Smith said at a press conference Wednesday.
The other person buried in the avalanche did not have life-threatening injuries, he said.
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 closed both sides of the remaining mountain on 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.
KT-22 opened for the season at 9 a.m. today, Gross said. The ski patrol has been “doing avalanche control assessments since Sunday,” he said, including assessing weather conditions 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 from Live Storms Media shows dozens of fire engines and police vehicles at the snow-covered resort. The outlet reported that medical personnel were working on patients inside the resort's medical building.
The outlet described the avalanche as “huge” and resulted in “many traps and injuries”. Olympic Valley firefighters told LSM that at least one patient was receiving CPR and another was 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.”
“Shortly after that, my office started getting reports that there was a possibility of an avalanche in Palisades Tahoe,” Olympic Valley 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 incidents took place on the mountain and were managed by the resort.
PCSO said Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue was activated.
The sheriff's office is investigating the case through an autopsy, it said in an update.
Palisades Tahoe Resort, Olympic Valley, Calif., sits on the west side of Lake Tahoe and is just over 40 miles from Reno.
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