TAHOE CITY, CALIF. >> At least one person has died and another was seriously injured today in an avalanche at a Northern California ski resort and search crews were scouring the resort for other potential victims, authorities said.
The avalanche occurred after a storm passed through the area Thursday, dumping large amounts of snow at Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, a ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area.
The resort said the avalanche was reported shortly after 10 a.m. in an open area of the resort. One male skier died and a second male skier sustained severe lower body-injuries and was taken to a hospital.
The Sierra Avalanche Center had warned of dangerous avalanche conditions for all elevations. Its website that there was “a high degree of uncertainty in regards to snowpack instability near and below treeline.”
The storm dumped up to 25 inches (0.63 meters) of snow at the top of the resort, said Edan Weishahn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Reno, Nev. She said 1 to 2 feet of snow fell in the surrounding mountains over a 24-hour period.
Placer County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Powers said search and rescue crews were searching the resort for “more potential unaccounted victims.”
“We’re scouring the mountain right now with search and rescue personnel and avalanche dogs,” Powers said. “At this point there is no reason to believe any other area of the resort or Alpine Meadows is in jeopardy.”
An avalanche at Alpine Meadows in March 1982 killed seven people, including several employees of the ski resort. It struck several buildings, including the main lodge and two chairlifts, and buried the resort’s parking lot.
The sheriff said the avalanche occurred”near the Subway ski run, a beginner’s area at the base of steep expert terrain that features a mix of runs through evergreen trees, around a series of and down narrow gullies.
On its website, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort touts itself as a “picturesque playground for families and off-the-radar thrill-seekers.” The property has more than 100 trails across 2400 acres (971 hectares), groomed runs and chalet-style lodges. The resort is in Tahoe City and about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Lake Tahoe.