The Lake Tahoe region recently got pelted with the storm of the season - in the last 24 hours some areas received over 36 inches of snow, bringing the seven day total to nearly eight feet. The Sierra Avalanche Center reported that the storm has created considerable avalanche conditions for above, near and below the treeline but the rating danger is increasing to high and extreme. Dangerous conditions exist in the backcountry, but yesterday an inbounds avalanche was also reported at Squaw Valley in the Olympic Lady area off of KT-22. Five guests were swept up in its path and one was reported to have serious injuries. Chilling video footage was taken of the extraction of a snowboarder - only his board was visible after the avalanche.
Squaw Alpine released the official statement, "At 1:40 p.m. today, guests reported an inbounds avalanche in an area near Olympic Lady chairlift at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Squaw Valley Ski Patrol and Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol immediately responded to the scene and were joined by Placer County Sheriff's Office, North Tahoe Fire, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, and Homewood Ski Patrol. Five guests were caught in the avalanche, two females and three males. One guest suffered a serious lower body injury and was transported by North Tahoe Fire Department to Tahoe Forest Hospital. Another guest was rescued by Squaw Valley rescue teams. The three other guests who were caught in the avalanche left the scene unharmed. In total, over 100 professional ski patrollers, emergency responders, and multiple avalanche rescue dogs responded to the incident. Rescue teams performed numerous searches and ultimately cleared the scene. All reported missing persons are accounted for at this time, and search operations have officially concluded. The trigger of the avalanche is unknown at this time, but a full investigation of the incident and its cause will be conducted."
Squaw Alpine remained closed on March 2nd and will have delayed openings today due to the high avalanche danger.
To all of the ski patrollers, search and rescue teams and avalanche reporters - thank you for helping keep us safe with such a quick response. Please stay safe out there yourselves. To all winter enthusiasts - there's always tomorrow.