Lake Tahoe resort avalanche kills skier
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — An avalanche Friday at a Lake Tahoe ski resort killed one skier and seriously injured another a day after a storm dumped snow throughout the picturesque area.
The avalanche occurred at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, hitting the two skiers on some of the steepest terrain at the resort, where a series of expert runs snake through trees, past cliffs and down narrow chutes.
“You have to be pretty skilled to get over there in the first place,” said Sean Kent of Reno, who was at Alpine Meadows Friday and has skied the affected area before. “It’s fickle. It comes with the territory. There’s only so much you can do.”
Officials identified the man who died as Cole Comstock, 34, of Blairsden, California. Placer County Sheriff ’s Sgt. Michael Powers said the injured skier had serious lower body injuries and was airlifted to a Lake Tahoe hospital for emergency surgery.
Powers said a ski patrol was on scene in the rugged area almost immediately, where others at the top of the run said two skiers had been on the hill below them in an area within the ski resort’s boundary.
“I know at least one of the victims was partially buried by snow,” Powers said. “When you get conditions like this, there is always a risk of avalanche.”
The Sierra Avalanche Center had warned of dangerous avalanche conditions for all elevations. Its website said there was “a high degree of uncertainty in regards to snowpack instability near and below treeline.”
The storm dumped up to 25 inches of snow at the top of the resort, said Edan Weishahn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Reno. She said one to two feet of snow fell in the surrounding mountains over a 24-hour period.
Skiers ride a chairlift Friday at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in front of the mountain traversed by the Subway Cirque ski run where one person was killed and another seriously injured in an avalanche earlier in the day.