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One Person Dead After Avalanche at California Ski Resort

UPDATE: Palisades Tahoe has confirmed they will reopen with a delayed start on Thursday.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office has also named the person killed as 66-year-old Kenneth Kidd of Point Reyes and Truckee, California.

Original Article: Authorities are now confirming that one person is dead after an avalanche at Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort in California. According to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the avalanche occurred at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Authorities say after the call went out, several different agencies and first responders headed to an area known as the GS Bowl of KT-22, a popular ski area on the lower chair. According to Palisades Tahoe’s website, the plan to open that section was announced early this week. The company’s blog says recent snowfall and upcoming forecasts allowed them to open the area.

The debris field from the avalanche is 150 feet wide, 450 feet long, and 10 feet deep. After a long search, one person was found dead. A second person is injured. So far, the victim has not been identified, and the incident remains under investigation. 

Palisades Tahoe is now closed, with no word on when the destination will reopen. 

Responding agencies include the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Olympic Valley Fire, Palisades Tahoe’s search and rescue operation, and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. More than 100 rescuers took part in the effort.

Palisades Tahoe opened in 1949 and, until 2021, it was called “Squaw Valley.” It was the home of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

While avalanche deaths are reported every year in places like California, they are rare at ski resorts. Since 2010, only 5% of avalanche deaths have occurred in areas considered “inbound,” which are places where a ski resort manages the mountain.

“Ski patrols can minimize the danger to an extremely low level but they can’t completely eliminate it,” said Karl Birkeland, PhD, the director of the United States Forest Service Avalanche Center, in an article about avalanche risks in California. 

Learn more about avalanche safety.

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