Bryce Houston, Reno Gazette Journal
Published 5:51 p.m. ET Jan. 17, 2020 | Updated 5:52 p.m. ET Jan. 17, 2020
RENO, Nev. – One skier was killed and another injured after an avalanche Friday morning at a Lake Tahoe-area ski resort in California.
Cole Comstock, 34, of Blairsden, California, was killed during the avalanche at the Alpine Meadows ski resort, the Placer County Sheriff’s office said. Another man who was injured was transported by ambulance to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, where he was undergoing surgery.
As of 12:50 p.m., Sgt. Mike Powers of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office stated that there was no reason to believe that other areas of the ski resort are in jeopardy.
The operations teams at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows had conducted avalanche control at the resort Friday morning after the area received more than 2 feet of snow in the last 24 hours.
The area was deemed clear and open to the public at 8:59 a.m., according to the Squaw Alpine Operations Twitter account.
The Sierra Avalanche Center rated the risk for an avalanche as “considerable.”
Around 10:15 a.m., the Placer County Sheriff’s Office responded to the resort after an avalanche was reported, according to a tweet by the sheriff’s office.
Powers said ski patrol and volunteers arrived with avalanche transceivers and probes and dug out the skiers “pretty quick.”
The resort said the cause of the avalanche is under investigation.
One witness who declined to give his name said he saw the slide from the chairlift. He said the avalanche happened in seconds.
“It happened just as you’d imagine, there was a lot of screaming,” he said.
Friday’s incident appears to be the fifth avalanche fatality this year, and the 10th during this ski season in the United States, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The Alpine Meadows resort has over 100 trails and 13 lifts. Alpine Meadows remains open but the area near the Subway Ski Run is closed.