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Veteran Patroller, Snowboarder Killed By Two California Slides

Alpine Meadows

Avalanches at two Lake Tahoe, Calif. area ski resorts killed a veteran ski patroller and a 49-year-old snowboarder just before Christmas.

 

Bill Foster, 53, a 28-year veteran ski patroller was buried at Alpine Meadows while doing avalanche control work. The slide, according to Associated Press reports, was intentionally set with an explosive device by a senior member of the Ski Patrol to prevent random avalanches.

 

However, the avalanche broke much higher and wider on the slope than in past snow safety efforts. Foster was found in about a minute and uncovered within eight minutes.

 

Snowboarder Steven Mark Anderson of Truckee was buried in another avalanche at Sierra-at-Tahoe (Sierra Ski Ranch). A search dog found his body under two-to-three feet of snow.

 

Resorts in the Lake Tahoe area had received at least three feet of snow in a series of pre-Christmas storms.

 

A report Wednesday morning (Dec. 26) from the Sierra Avalanche Center reads as follows: “Avalanche danger is considerable both above and below treeline on NW-N-NE-E-SE aspects on slopes 32 degrees and steeper. For all other areas, avalanche danger is moderate… Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding, and conservative decision-making are essential.”

 

Photo: Alpine Meadows 


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