Squaw Valley ski patrol employee dies
RENO — California sheriff’s deputies are investigating the death of a ski patrol member who died Tuesday while avalanche-control activities were being conducted at a resort near Lake Tahoe.
Joe Zuiches, 42, of Olympic Valley, California was killed in an unspecified “incident” at the Squaw Valley ski resort north of Tahoe City at about 8:30 a.m., the resort said in a statement. Few details have been released, but the resort said his death “does not appear to be avalanche related.”
Zuiches was an employee of Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows who became a member of Squaw Valley’s professional ski patrol in 2012, the resort said.
The Placer County sheriff’s office and North Tahoe Fire Department responded to the incident at the top of the resort’s Gold Coast Ridge area and were continuing to investigate Tuesday afternoon.
Squaw Valley, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, was closed Tuesday as a result of the death. Neighboring Alpine Meadows remained open.
“The team at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is deeply saddened by this tragic event, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends affected,” the resort said in a statement.
More than 3 feet of snow fell Monday on top of the Sierra Nevada. More than 23 feet of snow has fallen at some area resorts since Jan. 1.
The area had been under an avalanche warning much of the past two weeks, but the Sierra Avalanche Center listed the risk as “moderate” on Tuesday.
Early Monday, two California men were trapped in their car for about an hour when an avalanche buried the vehicle on State Highway 89 a few miles from Squaw Valley, which is south of U.S. Interstate 80 between Tahoe City and Truckee, California.