Avalanche at Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Draws Emergency Response

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An avalanche has prompted the closure of Palisades Tahoe, a prominent ski resort in Lake Tahoe, California. The incident occurred at approximately 9:30 a.m., leading to uncertainty regarding injuries or missing individuals, as authorities initiate a search. The resort issued a statement indicating that both sides of the mountain would be closed for the day.

Governor Gavin Newsom is actively monitoring the situation, and CalFire is mobilizing resources to aid in rescue efforts. The avalanche unfolded on the Palisades side, notably featuring the KT-22 chairlift, which had just opened for the season on Wednesday morning. This chairlift offers a six-minute ride, guiding skiers to an area where they can access various runs, covering an impressive 1,800 feet descent.

Michael Steinberg, a student at California State University, Chico, and a storm chaser for Live Storms Media, reported the presence of three ambulances, a fire truck, a rescue truck, and multiple firefighters at Tahoe Palisades about an hour and a half after the avalanche.

The Sierra Avalanche Center had previously highlighted avalanche risks on Wednesday and Thursday due to a major storm moving across the region. The greater Lake Tahoe area was under a winter storm warning until 1 a.m. on Thursday, with heavy snowfall expected, ranging from one to 18 inches and potentially reaching 30 inches over the highest peaks. Additionally, wind gusts were forecasted to be as high as 50 miles per hour.

Palisades Tahoe, situated in Olympic Valley, California, has a rich history, opening its doors in 1949 and hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics. Renamed in 2021 from Squaw Valley due to the acknowledgment of a “racist and sexist slur” in its former name, the resort spans 6,000 skiable acres across two mountains and receives an average annual snowfall of about 400 inches.

This incident follows a tragic avalanche in 2020 in the Alpine Meadows region of the resort, resulting in one skier’s death and serious injuries to another. Legal repercussions ensued, with two lawsuits filed against the ski resort, including allegations of negligence and a wrongful death claim. Both lawsuits reached settlements in 2022.

This is a developing story.


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