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34-Year-Old California Man Dies in Avalanche at Lake Tahoe Ski Resort

Gabrielle Chung
34-Year-Old California Man Dies in Avalanche at Lake Tahoe Ski Resort

An avalanche at a California ski resort has taken the life of a 34-year-old man.

Cole Comstock was killed in an avalanche that took place in the Alpine Meadows area of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort near Lake Tahoe on Friday, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

The Blairsden resident was the only confirmed fatality, police said.

A second male skier was taken to a nearby hospital with severe lower-body injuries, according to authorities and a statement from the ski resort.

The avalanche occurred around 10:16 a.m. local time in an open area between the Scott Chute and Promised Land skiing trails, the resort said. The Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol immediately responded to the area and conducted a search, which was called off at 11:45 a.m. when no additional individuals were reported missing, according to the ski center.

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“The entire Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows team, including all of the first responders, extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased,” the resort said in a statement. “We are working closely with the families of all the affected individuals to ensure their continued care.”

The ski resort remains open, though an area near the Subway ski run is closed, authorities said.

The cause of the avalanche is currently unknown and additional investigation is pending, according to the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort.

A snowfall report published by the ski center said a heavy storm that passed through the area on Thursday showered the surrounding area with up to two feet of fresh snow.

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“The forecast was for 12-17 inches at the base and 16-21 inches on the upper mountain. The totals this morning are 15-18 inches at the base, and 19-25 inches up top,” Friday’s report read. “That brings the season total up top to 190 inches which is 105% of average for the date.”

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, 10 people have been killed in avalanches during the 2019-2020 season.

Alpine Meadows saw seven deaths in March 1982 when a massive avalanche struck the resort, burying several buildings and structures under at least 10 feet of snow.