by Kevin MacMillan and Christopher Rosacker
R-C News Service

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December 25, 2012
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Avalanche claims second life at Donner

Two people were killed and two injured in avalanches across the central Sierra.

Search teams at Donner Ski Ranch in eastern Nevada County have recovered a man's body after a Monday morning avalanche, sheriff's officials said.

Truckee resident Steven Mark Anderson, 49, was identified as the man who was found Monday afternoon at Donner Ski Ranch.

Nevada County Sheriff's Department shortly received a report that the man was overdue around noon Monday, and he feared the man may have been caught up in an avalanche that occurred at the ski resort sometime around 9:30 a.m., said Sgt. Bob Jakobs.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., a Sugar Bowl Ski Patrol canine alerted search crews to an area at the base of the slide's debris field, Jakobs said. Anderson was quickly located approximately 2 feet to 3 feet under the snow where the canine had alerted.

Earlier on Monday, a ski patroller at Alpine Meadows ski resort near Lake Tahoe was air-lifted to a Reno hospital Monday morning after he was buried in an avalanche, a resort official said.

Bill Foster, 53, was pronounced dead on Tuesday at Renown Medical Center.

According to a statement from Amelia Richmond, Public Relations Manager at Squaw Valley (which owns neighboring Alpine Meadows), Foster was caught in the avalanche at about 10:45 a.m. Monday in the resort's Sherwood Bowl area.

"The avalanche was triggered by an explosive charge that had been thrown by a senior member of the ski patrol team," Richmond said. "The patrol team members were positioned in an area that was, based on historical experience, believed to have been a protected area. The ... avalanche broke much higher and wider on the slope than previously observed in past snow safety missions."

He was found within one minute and uncovered within eight minutes from the time of the avalanche, Richmond said.

Two people suffered nonlife threatening injuries after an avalanche occurred Sunday morning at Squaw Valley ski resort, officials said.

Three snowboarders triggered the in-bounds slide at 9:50 a.m. on a portion of the KT-22 peak, according to a statement from Squaw Valley Public Relations Manager Amelia Richmond.

The Sierra Avalanche Center is forecasting considerable avalanche danger on all aspects of slopes steeper than 33 degrees due to wind slabs and heavy snow loads.

"Large, destructive human triggered avalanches will remain likely," the center reported. "Natural avalanches will remain possible."

Avalanches have been reported to the center from Highway 88 to just north of Interstate 80.

The Sierra Sun's Kevin MacMillan and the Grass Valley Union's Christopher Rosacker contributed to this report.

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The Record Courier Updated Dec 26, 2012 09:19AM Published Dec 25, 2012 12:35PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.