Tragedy Strikes Palisades Tahoe Resort: Avalanche Claims One Life and Injures Others

California: In a devastating incident at Palisades Tahoe resort, an avalanche unfolded on Wednesday, resulting in one fatality and injuries to several individuals. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office identified the deceased as 66-year-old Kenneth Kidd, hailing from Point Reyes and the Truckee-Tahoe region. The tragic event involved four individuals, with two buried in the avalanche, one succumbing to fatal injuries, and another sustaining injuries.

Palisades Tahoe Resort
The area where the avalanche occurred, according to Palisades Tahoe

A female caught in the avalanche shared her harrowing experience, describing a fall of about 200 feet before being rescued by a stranger. The avalanche occurred around 9:30 a.m. on the Palisades side above the GS gully area of KT-22, as indicated by a statement from the resort. The resort’s mountain operations team had tweeted a patrol hold on KT-22 at 9:28 a.m.

The debris field resulting from the avalanche is approximately 150 feet wide, 450 feet long, and 10 feet deep, according to the sheriff’s office. Palisades Tahoe mountain operations confirmed conducting avalanche mitigation efforts in the area on the same day.

Despite the extensive search efforts involving over 100 personnel from Palisades Tahoe and assistance from Cal Fire, the aftermath revealed one fatality and three individuals with non-life-threatening injuries. Palisades Tahoe announced plans to reopen the resort at 9 a.m. on Thursday, with the exception of keeping the KT-22 terrain closed.

Trail of people on a snow covered land
More than 100 people from Palisades Tahoe helped search for two people they say were buried in an avalanche on Jan. 10.

Avalanches are recognized hazards in the Tahoe region, with daily danger forecasts published by the Sierra Avalanche Center. The avalanche danger rating on Wednesday was assessed as “considerable” for all tracked levels.

This tragic incident marks the first avalanche fatality in the 2023-2024 winter season in the United States, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Investigations into the cause of the avalanche are ongoing. Palisades Tahoe, previously known as Squaw Valley, has a history of avalanches, with a significant incident at Alpine Meadows in 2020 that claimed a skier’s life.

A view of the ski lift at Palisades Tahoe in California
Ski lift view of Palisades Tahoe ski resort, California.

The resort, a prominent ski destination in the Lake Tahoe region, has been in operation since 1949 and hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Palisades Tahoe remains a popular site for skiing, international competitions, and summer activities such as hiking and cycling. Despite this tragic event, the resort has played a crucial role in the region’s sports and recreational landscape.

Image source: Google

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