December 25, 2012 | Back to: News

IDs released in Sierra Nevada avalanche deaths

The identities of two men overtaken by two separate avalanches in the Tahoe area were released Tuesday, two days after a major storm system dumped more than 4 feet of heavy snow throughout the basin.

Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies reported that Steven Mark Anderson, a 49-year-old Truckee man, was killed in a Monday avalanche at Donner Ski Ranch, located at Norden in eastern Nevada County.

Anderson was found approximately 2 feet to 3 feet under the snow by a Sugar Bowl Ski Patrol canine unit, which was assisting in the search and rescue, at the base of the debris field at Donner Ski Ranch sometime before 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to Sgt. Bob Jakobs.

Anderson was pronounced dead at approximately 2:30 p.m. by a paramedic with the Truckee Fire Department, but his identity was not released until Tuesday, after a next of kin was notified, Jakobs said.

Anderson was reportedly snowboarding between 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. when the avalanche occurred between Ski Ranch lefts 1 and 6, according to Jakobs.

When Anderson did not return from the mountain when expected, a friend called the sheriff’s office to report that may Anderson may have been caught up in an avalanche and a search was initiated. Personnel from surrounding ski resorts and neighboring county’s law enforcement agencies assisted.

No one else was hurt in the incident, said resort officials, who labeled the avalanche as a moderate. The area was closed off for the rest of Monday.

Meanwhile, a 53-year-old veteran ski patroller at Alpine Meadows ski resort died Tuesday at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno after he was found buried in an explosive-triggered avalanche there on Monday, the resort confirmed late Tuesday.

Bill Foster was caught in the slide at about 10:45 a.m. Monday in the resort’s Sherwood Bowl area; he was part of a team of patrollers performing routine snow safety in the area, which was closed to the public at the time, Richmond said.

“Bill was one of Alpine Meadows’ very best and most experienced professional ski patrollers,” resort spokeswoman Amelia Richmond said in a statement. “Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers continue to be with Bill’s wife and all of their family and friends.”

The avalanche was triggered by an explosive charge that had been thrown by a senior member of the ski patrol team.

“The patrol team members were positioned in an area that was, based on historical experience, believed to have been a protected area,” Richmond said. “The … avalanche broke much higher and wider on the slope than previously observed in past snow safety missions.”

Foster was found within one minute and uncovered within eight minutes of the slide, Richmond said. Ski patrol quickly initiated CPR, and Foster was transported to an ambulance and then air-lifted by a CareFlight helicopter to Renown.

Foster had 28 years of experience on Alpine Meadows’ professional ski patrol, Richmond said, and he routinely performed snow safety in the area.

Two hurt in Sunday slide

at Squaw Valley

Two people suffered nonlife-threatening injuries after three snowboarders triggered an avalanche at 9:50 a.m. Sunday on a portion of the KT-22 peak at Squaw Valley ski resort, Richmond said in a statement.

A ski patroller riding the lift line, along with witnesses, “immediately” reported the slide, Richmond said, and several ski patrollers were on scene within one minute to aid both conscious skiers, neither of whom were buried by the snow.

One skier, a 39-year-old female, was transported and released from the resort’s medical clinic, Richmond said, while the second skier, a 16-year-old male, was treated for a shoulder injury, and then transported to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee for further observation.

No one else was hurt, Richmond said.

“The resort immediately initiated a full search to confirm there were no additional people involved,” said Richmond, adding that more than 100 staff and volunteers, along with seven avalanche rescue dogs, took part in the search that ended at 11:50 a.m.

Managing Editor Kevin MacMillan of The Union’s sister publication, The Sierra Sun, contributed to his report. To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

Christopher Rosacker

Follow Me

Stories you may be interested in

The Union Updated Dec 28, 2012 04:23PM Published Dec 28, 2012 03:24PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.