2 Inbounds Avalanches & 2 Snow Suffocation Deaths In California Last Weekend

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Observed snowfall over a 72 hour period. Image: NOAA Elko, NV

In the past week, some California ski resort have received 100+” of snow. The heaviest period of accumulation was Wednesday Night – Saturday Morning and it proved to be a dangerous. Throughout this time, 2 snow suffocation deaths and 2 inbound avalanches were reported at ski resorts throughout the state.

Incidents Reported:

Squaw Valley Inbounds Avalanche:

Inbounds avalanche at Squaw Valley, CA. Image: Image: SnowBrains/Patrick

At 1:40pm on Friday, 5 mountain guests were partially buried by an inbounds avalanche near the Olympic Lady Chairlift at Squaw Valley, CA. One of the guests that was buried suffered a broken leg and was transported to Tahoe Forest Hotel. At the time of the slide, an avalanche warning was issued for the area.

Mammoth Mountain Inbounds Avalanche:

Mammoth on Friday Night. Image: Mammoth Mountain

An inbounds avalanche closed Mammoth Mountain, CA on Saturday, March 3rd at 10:15am. The avalanche was triggered by an explosive administered by ski patrol in an area that was closed at the time but the avalanche traveled into an open area and buried two guests and six Mammoth employees were partially caught. Thankfully, all of victims were uninjured and able to free themselves.

China Peak Casualty:

China Peak, CA. Image: China Peak

A 36-year-old snowboarder died after falling headfirst into deep snow and suffocating at China Peak ski resort in California on Friday. The Sheriff’s Office reports that the accident happened in the trees between Exhibition and Tamarack near Chair 2 in deep snow. Apparently, the victim fell into 5 feet of fresh snow and suffocated after being unable to free himself.

Squaw Valley Casualty:

Incident at Squaw Valley, CA. Image: CBS Sacramento

At 9 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018, a Squaw Valley guest was reported missing to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. According to the resort, the guest’s last known location was a late-afternoon season pass scan at the base of the Squaw Creek chair. An overnight search effort was postponed due to avalanche danger.

At daylight Friday, Squaw Valley Ski Patrol teams conducted avalanche hazard mitigation work in the area. At that point, a search and rescue effort with Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows was resumed. Sadly, 42-year old Wenyu Zhang from Rocklin, CA was found deceased.

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