Searches underway following avalanche at California ski resort near Lake Tahoe


OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Search teams were deployed following an avalanche Wednesday at a California ski resort near Lake Tahoe as a major storm with snow and gusty winds moved into the region, officials said.

The avalanche occurred around 9:30 a.m. at Palisades Tahoe, the resort said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“Our Patrol and mountain operations teams are performing a search at this time,” the resort said.

Sgt. David Smith, a spokesperson for the Placer County sheriff, told The Associated Press there are “no confirmed reports” of people trapped but search teams are assessing the area.

The avalanche happened just 30 minutes after the resort opened on steep slopes under the K-22 lift, which serves “black diamond” runs for expert skiers and snowboarders. It was not immediately known if that area was open Wednesday morning. The resort was closed for the day following the avalanche.

Palisades is on the western side of Lake Tahoe, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Reno, Nevada. The resort was host site for the 1960 winter Olympics

Winds gusted in excess of 100 mph (160 kph) over ridgetops around Lake Tahoe late Tuesday ahead of a powerful storm expected to bring as much as 2 feet (61 centimeters) of snow to the highest elevations by early Thursday. The National Weather Service in Reno said 2 inches (5 centimeters) could fall per hour Wednesday around the lake.

A 110 mph (177 kph) gust was recorded Tuesday afternoon at the summit of Alpine Meadows, the neighboring sister resort of Palisades south of Truckee, California, the service said.

A 2020 avalanche at Alpine Meadows killed one skier and seriously injured another a day after a major storm. An avalanche at Alpine Meadows in March 1982 killed seven people, including several employees of the ski resort.

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