1 killed, 3 injured in avalanche at Palisades Tahoe ski resort, California officials say

1 killed, 3 injured in avalanche at Palisades Tahoe ski resort, California officials say


Amaris Encinas
 USA TODAYplayShow CaptionHide Caption#videoDetailsToggle{color:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));cursor:pointer;display:inline-block;font-family:var(–sans-serif,sans-serif);font-size:var(–type-7);font-weight:var( –font-weight-bold,900);line-height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);margin-bottom:-8px}#vdt_hide{margin-bottom:10px}.vdt-flex[hidden]{display:none}.vdt-svg{fill:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);width:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px)}Skier watched deadly avalanche from chair liftOne person was killed in an avalanche that swept through a ski resort near Lake Tahoe. At least one forecast warned of an avalanche risk.

One person was killed and three others were injured as a result of an avalanche that hit the Lake Tahoe area on Wednesday morning, authorities confirmed.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. David Smith told USA TODAY that search efforts had concluded, after officials were forced to close Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort over 100 miles north of Sacramento to search for victims and survivors.

The sheriff’s office identified the person killed as Kenneth Kidd, 66, a resident of Point Reyes and Truckee, which is just northeast of Palisades Tahoe. According to an earlier statement issued by the resort, Kidd sustained fatal injuries from the incident and was pronounced deceased by Tahoe Forest Hospital.

Three other skiers sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to the resort. The death Wednesday was the first U.S. avalanche fatality of the season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which monitors avalanches nationwide.

Palisades avalanche reported about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday

The avalanche was first reported about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Palisades Tahoe. The slide occurred on steep slopes in the GS Gully area, according to a social media post from Palisades Tahoe.

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At approximately 9:30am today at Palisades Tahoe, an avalanche occurred on the Palisades side, specifically above the GS gully area of KT-22. Our Patrol and mountain operations teams are performing a search at this time. Both sides of our mountain will be closed for the day. pic.twitter.com/SpvwoUAsn9

— Palisades Tahoe (@palisadestahoe) January 10, 2024

A local fire department had responded to the resort for “word of an avalanche in the ski area,” the post stated. Multiple agencies in the area began to pool resources to assist Palisades Ski Patrol, who confirmed that an avalanche had occurred in the GS gully area, to the skier’s right of the KT-22 chairlift.

Over 100 Palisades Tahoe personnel and members of the public assisted first responders with the search and rescue operation.

Some of the tools used in Wednesday’s search included avalanche transceivers, probes, RECCO Rescue System technology, and avalanche rescue dog teams, the statement reads.

“The entire Palisades Tahoe team, including all of the first responders, extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those involved in the incident,” according to Palisades Tahoe.

The mountain remained closed for the rest of the day, stating that the avalanche debris field is approximately 150 feet wide, 450 feet long and 10 feet deep, according to the sheriff’s office.

‘Very sad day’

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Smith said during the news conference that Kidd was a guest at Palisades Tahoe. Law enforcement authorities and officials from the resort confirmed that the others who were swept up in the avalanche suffered minor injuries.

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One person suffered a lower leg injury and two others were treated for unspecified injuries and released, officials said.

“This is a very sad day for my team and everyone here,” Dee Byrne, president of Palisades Tahoe, said at the news conference.

The resort’s ski patrol had done avalanche control assessments since Sunday to prepare for Wednesday’s opening, which was the first day of the season, according to Michael Gross, vice president of mountain operations.

“They’ve been up there doing control work, evaluating weather conditions, setting up all safety markings, hazard markings, et cetera, to get them prepared for today’s opening,” Gross said at the news conference.

The cause of the avalanche is still under investigation, according to Byrne.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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