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Avalanche kills snowboarder at Tahoe-area resort

Donner Ski Ranch, about 90 miles northeast of Sacramento, closed as rescue teams searched for a 49-year-old California man who was missing on Monday in one of several avalanche-related emergencies in the Lake Tahoe area. Recent storms had dumped up to three feet of fresh snow. The friends of Steven Mark Anderson of Hirschdale, an unincorporated community outside Truckee, notified the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department at around noon on Monday, THREE HOURS after the avalanche, because it took that long for them to realize he was missing! The friends had gone their own ways in the morning, rather than skiing as a group.

Snow is nothing to fool with.

According to, Deputy David Lade said:

“They spent a lot of time trying to locate him.”

A search dog found the man’s body about 1:30 p.m. under 2 to 3 feet of snow at the base of the avalanche. Lade said the wind had blown snow to depths to 7 feet or more where the man was snowboarding, which was inside the ski area’s boundaries near the main lodge.

“With the extremely heavy snowfall we’ve gotten over the last three days and the conditions prior to that, it’s prime avalanche conditions,” Lade said.

Dangerous avalanches were also reported at the neighboring ski resorts, Squaw Valley USA and Alpine Meadows. According to

A veteran ski patroller at Alpine Meadows was taken Monday to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno after being buried in a slide that had been intentionally set with an explosive device.

“The charge triggered the avalanche, which broke much higher and wider on the slope than previously observed in past snow safety missions,” the resort said in a statement.

The patroller, who had 28 years of experience at the resort, was uncovered within eight minutes. Resort spokeswoman Amelia Richmond said she could not release his condition, and the hospital did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The ski patrol team had been performing avalanche control in Sherwood Bowl within the boundaries on the back side of the resort.

A 39-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy were swept up in an avalanche on Sunday, although neither was buried, at Squaw Valley on Sunday and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

-Bill at

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