UPDATE: Lake County Sheriff’s Office confirms two fatalities from Saturday’s avalanche | VailDaily.com

UPDATE: Lake County Sheriff’s Office confirms two fatalities from Saturday’s avalanche

TWIN LAKES — The Lake County Sheriff's Office has confirmed two fatalities stemming from an avalanche Saturday, Feb. 15, according to the Lake County Office of Emergency Management's Facebook page. The Lake County Sheriff's Office announced it would not yet release the identities of any of the seven skiers involved in the avalanche that slid at about 5 p.m. yesterday on the Twin Lakes side of Independence Pass, including the two victims found at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16. Among the participating agencies in the search and rescue effort were the Lake County Sheriff's Office, the Lake County Emergency Manager, Lake County Public Works, St. Vincent Hospital EMS, Leadville/Lake County Fire and Rescue, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment and Lake County Search and Rescue teams. Three members of the Summit County Rescue Group also participated in search and rescue efforts, said public information officer Charles Pitman. According to reports from the Lake County Office of Emergency Management, the seven skiers were near the top of a ridge when they activated the avalanche about one mile from the LaPlata parking area along Colorado Highway 82. Three people were taken to the hospital in Leadville with injuries that included a broken leg, a broken ankle and a possible broken rib and collapsed lung. Two others were unharmed. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the slide was large and at or near tree line in an area popular for snow recreation activities. The avalanche did not reach the road, and a team from the Colorado Department of Transportation was expected to arrive Sunday morning to conduct an assessment and determine a way to clear the area. Calls to CDOT have not yet been returned. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Colorado skier, 30, dies in avalanche

SALT LAKE CITY ” A man who was caught in an avalanche while skiing at the Canyons resort was from Colorado. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office says Jesse R. Williams, 30, of Grand Junction, Colo., was killed in the slide Sunday. Williams was skiing in an area within the northern boundary of the resort when the avalanche hit around 11 a.m. Sunday. The sheriff’s office released his name Monday. Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Martinez said an 11-year-old boy who was also caught in the avalanche was upgraded Monday to critical but stable condition. The boy’s family asked not to have his name released. http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/

Lake Tahoe ski resorts get 9 feet of snow

UPDATE 11 a.m. Another 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected to fall at lake level around Tahoe through early Thursday morning. Another foot of snow could fall at elevations greater than 7,000 feet, the National Weather Service in Reno warns. Winds are expected to be between 15 to 20 mph with gusts as strong as 30 mph. On the Sierra Ridge gusts could exceed 100 mph. Additional accumulation would add to already impressive totals recorded around Lake Tahoe. Heavenly Mountain Resort has recorded 48 inches of new snow in 24 hours and 9 feet in three days. Kirkwood will remain closed for the day after receiving 9 feet. UPDATE 6:55 a.m. Lake Tahoe traffic update: US 50 opens west of Meyers, I-80 remains closed Caltrans is reporting that U.S. 50 is open between Pollock Pines and Meyers. The highway had been closed for about 11 hours at Echo Summit due to avalanche dangers. With a high wind advisory in effect between the El Dorado County line and the Nevada stateline, Caltrans says travel is not recommended for campers, trailers or permit loads. Chain controls are in effect between Meyers and Sand Flat. Interstate 80 was still closed as of 6:55 a.m. Wednesday between Colfax and the Nevada stateline. ORIGINAL STORY: Lake Tahoe South Shore schools, college closed Wednesday due to winter weather For a third day in a row, Lake Tahoe Unified School District and Lake Tahoe Community College will be closed Wednesday due to adverse weather conditions that dumped multiple feet of snow Tuesday, causing significant issues on roadways and snapping power lines. Douglas County School District's George Whittell High School and Zephyr Cove Elementary School also closed on the Nevada side of the South Shore. All these schools were closed Tuesday as blizzard conditions bore down on the region. The storm shuttered government offices including in South Lake Tahoe, where nonessential personnel were told to stay home, and the U.S. Forest Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit offices in South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village were closed Tuesday and Wednesday. There were traffic holds on U.S. 50 between Twin Bridges and Meyers for avalanche control most of Tuesday up until the evening, when the highway was closed at Echo Summit from Sly Park to Meyers due to avalanche conditions. The California Department of Transportation had hoped to have the highway open Wednesday morning, but as of 6 a.m. U.S. 50 was still closed. North of Lake Tahoe, Interstate 80 also remained closed Wednesday morning between Colfax and the Nevada stateline.

Snowmobilers in Wyo. avalanche found dead

JACKSON, Wyo. ” Three local men caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling in the Star Valley south of Jackson have been found dead. The Star Valley Search and Rescue team found the three men in the Cottonwood Lake area Saturday. The Lincoln County sheriff’s office hasn’t released the men’s names. A dispatcher at the sheriff’s office who didn’t give her name said Sunday that she didn’t know when the avalanche occurred. No further details were available.

Avalanche reported on Loveland Pass

A substantial avalanche was spotted on the East side of Loveland Pass today at about noon. Cleer Creek County Sheriff’s officers responded to the avalanche. The photo provided by Lake Dillon Fire Rescue Human Resources Manager Matt Scheer clearly shows skier tracks near the slide. However, it is not known what triggered the snow slide. Please stay tuned for more information. This story will be updated as more details become available.

2 dead after avalanche in northern Utah

LOGAN, Utah ” Two people were killed Wednesday in an avalanche in northern Utah, the Cache County sheriff’s office said. Lt. Matt Bilodeau said the slide happened at 10:30 a.m. on the backside of Logan Peak, between Providence and Logan canyons. The two were in a party of four that was snowmobiling, Bilodeau said. One person had a satellite phone and called authorities after the slide. Identities of the dead were not being released pending notification of family. The other two people were not injured, Bilodeau said. He said search teams do not believe anyone else was caught in the avalanche. Avalanche danger across northern Utah has been high this week as new snowfall has made the snowpack increasingly fragile. The Utah Avalanche Center has cautioned people not to venture into the backcountry. Logan is about 85 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Skier dies in Utah avalanche

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) ” The body of a 37-year-old Norwegian man who disappeared while skiing the backcountry in the Wasatch Mountains was discovered Thursday, the fourth avalanche death in Utah in less than a week. Searchers located the body of Vegard Lund of Styanger, Norway, after explosives were dropped from a helicopter to clear snow and create a safe route. “He’s a confirmed fatality,” said Bruce Tremper, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center. Lund was skiing with two other Norwegians Wednesday when they separated, said Lt. Paul Jaroscak of the Salt Lake County sheriff’s office. Authorities were alerted about 7 p.m., but the man’s location was not known. Wasatch Powderbird Guides, which transports skiers to mountain peaks, dropped charges from a helicopter to clear snow Thursday and detected Lund’s body from a signal emitting from his avalanche beacon. “It is such an unstable area,” Jaroscak said. Indeed, Tremper said avalanche risks remain high outside groomed ski resorts because fresh snow is sitting on top of “tortilla chips” ” snow that sat for weeks during a dry winter stretch. “It’s extremely weak and brittle. It’s like putting a brick on a pile of potato chips,” Tremper said. There were 11 consecutive days of human-triggered avalanches through Wednesday, he said. Four people ” two skiers and two snowmobilers ” have died in avalanches in Utah since Saturday. Three people died in avalanches last weekend in Montana and Idaho.

Missing Tahoe skier found dead in avalanche

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. ” Searchers have found the body of a missing skier buried in an avalanche in the mountains above Lake Tahoe. The El Dorado County sheriff’s office says Christopher Trethaway of South Lake Tahoe had apparently gone skiing in the Sierra Nevada backcountry near Emerald Bay on Sunday and failed to return. Crews began the search late Sunday after authorities found his car by the Bayview Trailhead. Lt. Les Lovell says search and rescue crews found the 39-year-old man’s body Monday morning.

Lake County avalanche victims were from Wisconsin

PORTAGE, Wis. (AP) — Two skiers killed in a large avalanche about 8 miles west of Twin Lakes, on the eastern side of the Independence Pass summit, came from a small town in southern Wisconsin, relatives and colleagues said Monday. Three other skiers were hospitalized following Saturday's avalanche near Leadville. Rescue crews found the two skiers' bodies Sunday afternoon near Independence Pass, about 80 miles southwest of Denver, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said. Robert Lentz said his son, Justin Lentz of Portage, was one of those killed in the avalanche. The 32-year-old Lentz loved to ski and started when he was 5 or 6 years old, his father said. Lentz said his son "was a good kid" who worked as an electrician and was engaged to be married. Another Portage man, Jarrard Law, 34, was also killed. Law was an information-technology expert at the Necedah Area School District, where Superintendent Larry Gierach remembered him as an "incredible man." "Jarrard had great skills with people and was an integral part of our planning when it came to technology," Gierach said. Many staff members thought of him as a friend first and as a professional second, the superintendent said. The school district planned to make grief counselors available to faculty and students. Lentz and Law were close buddies who frequently went skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking together, said Joey Kindred, 28, who knew them both well. Kindred recalled how Lentz enjoyed competing his friends with over-the-top snowboard tricks, even though he had a bad shoulder that would pop out of its socket every time he crashed. "He'd fall down so often we'd call him Man Down," Kindred said. "He'd laugh, get up and do it again. And when his shoulder popped out he'd call over to his fiancee — she's a nurse — and she'd pop it back in." Law was always the life of a party, but he was happiest when he was in the outdoors or spending time with friends, Kindred said. Kindred has gone skiing and snowboarding with Lentz and Law in the past. He said the two had only skied at resorts in Colorado so they wouldn't have been familiar with the backcountry trails. "I just wish I could have been with them to stop them from going down those lanes," said Kindred, who used to live in Colorado. Saturday's avalanche was the third deadly slide in Colorado in less than a week, authorities said Sunday. Susan Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Lake County Office of Emergency Management, said seven skiers on Star Mountain near Leadville triggered the slide at about 5 p.m. Saturday. "They were found near the top of the avalanche and they had beacons on, which really helped a lot," Matthews said. "The terrain there is extremely steep." Three skiers were hospitalized with injuries that included a broken leg, a broken ankle and a possible broken rib and collapsed lung. One has since been discharged from the hospital. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center had been warning of dangerous conditions across much of Colorado's mountains after two weeks of heavy snow that lured backcountry skiers and snowboarders to the high country.

64-year-old skier killed in avalanche at Lake Tahoe resort

UPDATE: 4 p.m. Sunday: Rescue crews found the body of a 64-year-old man during their search early Sunday afternoon at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. "The body of a man believed to be the missing skier was located by searchers working within the search area shortly before 1:00pm Sunday," according to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. According to media reports, the body was found buried in about 8 to 10 feet of snow. The name of the man has yet to be released, pending next-of-kin notification. The Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office has taken over the investigation to determine cause of death. The original story string is below. RENO, Nev. — Emergency crews have resumed the search for a male skier who was reportedly caught in an avalanche Saturday at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. Photo of the search area taken this morning by a Washoe County Search and Rescue volunteer. pic.twitter.com/SnM30PzK2k — Washoe Sheriff (@WashoeSheriff) December 11, 2016 Mt. Rose spokesman Mike Pierce says one skier saw the man get caught in an avalanche Saturday morning on Jackpot Chute, a closed area of the resort. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office says search crews were recalled Saturday afternoon due to a continued avalanche threat. The search resumed at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday. The name of the skier — who's reportedly about 60 years old — has not been released. According to WCSO, searchers and support staff from Placer and Nevada counties in California are joining those from Washoe and Mt. Rose in the search. The Tahoe region was pelted Friday and Saturday with a wet winter storm, drawing some snow at higher elevations and plenty at lake level and above.