Palisades Avalanche One skier died and one was injured in Tahoe, Sheriff reports

OLYMPIC VALLEY – The Authorities said that an avalanche at the Palisades Tahoe resort on Wednesday resulted in one death and one injury.

Palisades Avalanche One skier died and one was injured in Tahoe
Palisades Avalanche One skier died and one was injured in Tahoe | Image Credit:

The deceased man was recognised by the sheriff’s office as Kenneth Kidd, a Point Reyes and Truckee, California resident, 66.

According to officials during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, four people—two buried, one guy who died, and one other person who was injured—were trapped in the avalanche.

According to officials, there are no more persons thought to be missing.

An avalanche victim said that she plummeted 200 feet and was buried prior to being rescued by an unknown individual.

The resort released a statement stating that the avalanche occurred on the Palisades side above the GS gully area of KT-22 on Wednesday at around 9:30 a.m. The mountain operations team of the resort tweeted that KT-22 was placed on patrol hold at 9:28 a.m.

The KT-22 terrain will remain closed, however Palisades Tahoe has announced that its resort will reopen on Thursday at 9 a.m.

Map of Palisades Tahoe trails

The area where the avalanche occurred, according to Palisades Tahoe.
The area where the avalanche occurred, according to Palisades Tahoe | Image Credit:

The sheriff’s office estimates that the debris field is around 150 feet wide, 450 feet long, and 10 feet deep.

Avalanche prevention work was done in the vicinity of the avalanche on Wednesday, according to Palisades Tahoe mountain operations, which they verified to CBS13.

Over a hundred Palisades Tahoe employees contributed to the search effort. According to the California governor’s office, Cal Fire also stated that it relocated staff and resources to assist with potential rescue operations.

Though uncommon, in-bounds avalanches occur more frequently than we would want. In January 2020, veteran skier Cole Comstock was killed and his ski buddy was injured in an in-bounds avalanche off of the Scott Chair at Alpine Meadows, which is connected to Palisades Tahoe by the Base to Base Gondola.

In 2021, Comstock’s wife filed a negligence case, which the resort ultimately resolved. In 2020, skiers completing a traverse on Idaho’s open, patrolled expert terrain at Silver Mountain caused an avalanche. There were several injuries and three fatalities. Furthermore, two skiers were murdered in 2019 in an in-bounds slide on Kachina Peak in Taos Ski Valley. Outside examined the risks and the possibility of in-bounds avalanches occurring here.

A skier who observed the avalanche while on the lift told CBS13 about how she and other others dived in to aid in the hunt.

The resort is inside the boundaries of Rep. Kevin Kiley’s 3rd Congressional District. Kiley stated in a statement that his office is in communication with the Placer County Office of Emergency Services.

“We are grateful to our first responders who are hard at work conducting the search,” Kiley wrote in a letter.

The lifts at Palisades and Alpine are currently closed for the day, per the resort’s website.

The Sierra Avalanche Centre releases daily hazard predictions, indicating that avalanches are a recognised threat in the Tahoe area. Avalanche threat on Wednesday was rated as “considerable” for all levels on the centre tracks.

One skier was killed in an avalanche in Alpine Meadows back in 2020.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Centre, there have been no US avalanche-related fatalities in 2024 as of Wednesday. Thirty people died nationally last year, two of them in California: one was a backcountry skier at Hurd Peak, southwest of Bishop, and the other was a hiker on Split Mountain, southwest of Big Pine.

Known for hosting the Winter Olympics in 1960, Palisades Tahoe is a well-liked ski resort in the area. Due to the negative connotations associated with the previous name, Native American organisations pushed for its renaming in 2021.

The Tahoe area has finally seen significant snowstorms after a sluggish start; during the past week, about two feet have fallen, and more are expected.

This serves as a helpful reminder that even though we typically identify avalanche risk with heavy snow and fluctuating temperatures, low snow conditions can nevertheless result in hazardous scenarios. A 50-inch base is now being reported in Palisades Tahoe due to a persistent blizzard and strong winds. This is a story in progress and will be updated as new details become available.