VIDEO: Man buried in snow rescued after avalanche at California ski resort

Friday, March 02, 2018 11:19PM
An avalanche crashed down on five people Friday at a Sierra Nevada ski resort, which fully buried at least one man who was rescued out.


LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - An avalanche crashed down on five people Friday at a Sierra Nevada ski resort, which fully buried at least one man who was rescued out.

The avalanche hit the Squaw Valley Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe near the Nevada state line, which prompted over 100 rescuers and rescue dogs to get to the scene.

One man was hospitalized with a serious lower body injury, another person was treated for injuries and released while three other people escaped injury, the resort said in a statement.

Heather Turping was snowboarding with her boyfriend when she heard someone scream "Avalanche!" and saw "a cloud of snow coming down."

People rescue man buried alive in snow after avalanche


"It was massive," she said. "It just happened to literally pass a foot in front of me."

A woman screamed that her husband was missing and someone spotted a snowboard poking out of the snow.

"That's what saved his life," Turping said.

"I took my gloves off and I helped dig him out," she said. "When he got uncovered, a ski patroller said, 'You were under for six minutes.'"

The man wasn't seriously hurt and was able to snowboard back down the mountain, she said.


In the past seven days during the recent winter weather blast the resort has received nearly five feet of snow, and officials say avalanche danger was at a high rating Friday.

According to the Sierra Avalanche Center, the danger was rated high above the treeline, which is defined as very dangerous avalanche conditions. They also recommended that visitors not travel in avalanche terrain.

Squaw Valley officials released more information after the incident via Twitter:


The trigger of the avalanche was not immediately known, but a full investigation of the incident and its cause will be conducted, officials said.

The avalanche occurred hours after the body of a missing snowboarder was found at the same resort.

Wenyu Zhang, 42, vanished Thursday as the region was hit by a blizzard packing winds gusting to nearly 150 mph over the ridge tops. It dumped 3 feet of snow in the mountains.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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