An avalanche at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in Placer County has killed one skier and sent one to the hospital with serious injuries.
The man killed in the avalanche was identified as 34-year-old Cole Comstock, who was from the rural community of Blairsden in Plumas County. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said this afternoon that it’s no longer looking for any further victims.
Deputies and the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team conducted a thorough search around the affected area using avalanche dogs, according to the sheriff’s office.
Alpine Meadows said the avalanche was reported Friday at 10:16 a.m. in the area between Scott Chute and Promised Land near Scott Chair, within an open area of the resort. The sheriff’s office reported that the avalanche was above the Subway ski run.
Most fatal avalanches occur in the backcountry. Less than 5% of the 258 avalanche fatalities nationality from the past 10 ski seasons occurred within a ski area’s boundaries, according to 2018 data from the National Ski Areas Association shows.
The Sierra Avalanche Center forecast a level 3 warning calling for considerable avalanche danger for much of the Tahoe area through Saturday morning, including the area around Alpine Meadows.
Comstock sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, according to the resort. A second male skier sustained severe lower-body injuries and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Authorities did say emergency surgery was performed.
Sergeant Mike Powers with the Placer County Sheriff's Office says avalanche danger is part of the sport.
"Unfortunately, avalanches happen all the time," Powers said. "This is just a very tragic instance where two people were caught up in it."
The cause of the avalanche is unknown at this time pending additional investigation. Alpine Meadows Ski Resort is still open at this time.
“The entire Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows team, including all of the first responders, extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased,” the resort said in a press release. “We are working closely with the families of all the affected individuals to ensure their continued care.”
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