One person was killed and three others sustained non-life-threatening injuries in an inbounds avalanche at Palisades Tahoe this Wednesday, followed by a second avalanche on Thursday.
KT-22 opened for the first time this season at 9 am this Wednesday, however, 30 minutes after it opened, the run under the chair on steep slopes in the GS Gully area avalanched. KT is one of the few chairlifts that, from a terrain-radness point of view, you can categorize alongside the trams at Snowbird, Big Sky, and Jackson. It’s that rowdy, that good, a proving ground for the recreational ripper. If one lift and one terrain pod defines America’s second-largest ski area, it’s KT-22.
On Wednesday night the man who died was named as Kenneth Kidd, 66, who lived in the Truckee and Point Reyes areas of the state.
Three others were caught in the avalanche, one person suffered a lower leg injury and two others were treated for unspecified injuries and released, officials said.
Dee Byrne, Tahoe Palisades president and COO, said, “This is a very sad day here at Palisades…This is still a dynamic situation and we have a lot to learn yet…Our hearts and condolences go to the victim’s family.”
The slide occurred at approximately 9.30 a.m. local time in the GS bowl area on the KT-22 peak. Palisades Tahoe closed both sides of the mountain for the day while nearly 100 Palisades personnel performed search and rescue operations assisted by the Olympic Valley Fire Department, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, and PCSO.
The avalanche debris field was approximately 150 feet (45.72 meters) wide, 450 feet (137.16 meters) long, and 10 feet (3.05 meters) deep, the sheriff’s office reported.
The slide occurred as a winter storm was expected to bring heavy snow and wind to the region throughout the day.
And then on Thursday, on the Alpine side of the resort near Wolverine Bowl, another avalanche happened around 12:30 p.m. Thankfully there were no reports of anyone getting caught in the slide and crews concluded that no guests or employees were involved after an exhaustive search of the area.
Snow is an unpredictable medium.