Avalanche Claims Life Of Ski Patrol Member In Truckee
By: Carrie A. Blakley
A Sierra Ski Patrol member perished as a result of an avalanche the hit the Sierra range in the Tahoe area on Monday. Bill Foster, 53, died at the Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, NV, after being transported there following Monday’s avalanche. Foster was a 28-year veteran of the ski patrol in that area. Spokeswoman Amelia Richmond stated that she was not certain if Mr. Foster died on Monday evening, or Tuesday morning.
An avalanche at the neighboring Sierra resort on Monday also claimed the life of Steven Mark Anderson, 49. He was a resident of Truckee, CA, and was buried in an avalanche while snow-boarding at the Donner Ski Ranch, which is about 90 miles northeast of Sacramento. One of the search dogs discovered his body, which was buried under an estimated 2 – 3 feet of snow at the base of the avalanche.
The Tahoe ski resorts, as well as surrounding ski resorts and lodges, estimated that a minimum of 3 feet of fresh snow fell on the area, due to the series of storms that have hit the region between Friday and Sunday. These conditions lead to extremely hazardous conditions, even within ski area boundaries.
Mr. Foster was located, and subsequently rescued, in about a minute, and was uncovered enough to be removed from the avalanche within approximately eight minutes. Members of the local ski patrol team attempted to resuscitate Mr. Foster prior to being taken to the hospital. Mr. Foster was part of a ski patrol team that was doing avalanche control in an area closed to the general public, which is located on the back side of the ski resort. The avalanche slide that trapped Mr. Foster was a result of an intentional slide, which had been set with an explosive device by a senior member of the patrol team.
Avalanche control is commonplace among areas that are prone to natural avalanches, in a bid to try and curb the potential hazard to surrounding areas. An avalanche occurs when weaker snow-packed layers cannot support the layers of snow above them. Technician
Teams operate with comprehensive programs to control when and how to bring down unstable snow. These measures, which are clearly hazardous to the technician teams, often end up saving many lives, as well as preventing more hazardous events from taking place naturally.
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