Jenell Schwab
Sierra Sun

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March 1, 2012
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Injured skier rescued from Sierra backcountry after avalanche

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — A skier injured in a backcountry avalanche was rescued by regional emergency personnel Thursday afternoon from a remote and rugged location off the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.

The male skier was transported by ground ambulance at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, where he is in critical condition, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

The skier was with two others when the avalanche occurred. He was found about 500 vertical feet below Stanford Rock in Ward Canyon, located off Highway 89, a few miles from Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.

The skiers had not been on Alpine Meadows Ski Resort property; initial reports indicated the skier was near the backside of the resort and that he may have skied out of bounds prior to the avalanche.

They accessed the area from Highway 89, said PCSO spokeswoman Dena Erwin. After the slide, one skier was able to ski out of the area to request aid. A second skier — who was not injured — stayed with the victim until rescuers arrived.

Rescue crews began the search at around 3 p.m. By 4:40 p.m., authorities reported they were removing the skier. The search was a combined effort of Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the North Tahoe Fire Protection District.

The incident occurred at the tail end of a strong winter storm system that dumped more than four feet of snow at higher elevations around Lake Tahoe.

Wind gusts were very high during the storm, and the Sierra Avalanche Center had listed avalanche danger as “High” Thursday morning, before being downgraded in the afternoon to “Considerable.”

— Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Mar 1, 2012 09:07PM Published Mar 1, 2012 06:34PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.