Mt. Rose avalanche: Search called off; no victims reported |

Mt. Rose avalanche: Search called off; no victims reported

Kyle Magin and Kevin MacMillan
Sierra Sun
Jen Schmidt/Sierra SunRescuers comb the avalanche area Wednesday afternoon on the Slide Mountain side of Mt. Rose Ski Resort.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. ” Rescuers have stopped searching for a person buried under an avalanche that occurred late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning at Mt. Rose Ski Resort.

Rescuers called off the search at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, said Sierra Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Mark Regan. Rescue crews determined that if there was someone trapped in the snow, he or she made it out.

The avalanche site is on the Slide Mountain side of Mt. Rose, just north of Incline Village. It occurred on the out-of-bounds area below the lodge at the East Bowl.

Mike Pierce, marketing director for Mt. Rose, said the call came into Mt. Rose Ski Patrol at about 11 a.m. Wednesday from a patron who saw the avalanche fracture point from the Mt. Rose Highway.

Pierce said rescuers determined the avalanche occurred sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday, as the two debris fields it left had about 3 inches of fresh snow on them when rescuers arrived.

A Mt. Rose Ski Patrol official earlier Wednesday said there was one set of foot tracks headed toward the avalanche site, but none leading away.

Brooke Keast, public information officer for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed Wednesday afternoon there also was a set of foot tracks leading away from the avalanche site. Keast said it is unknown when both sets of tracks were made, or if they are related.

Two helicopters arrived early Wednesday afternoon, Regan said, one from the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nev., and a CareFlight helicopter from Squaw Valley USA. The CareFlight dropped off a pair of Squaw Valley Ski Patrol search dogs to accompany the two Washoe County Search and Rescue dogs on scene.

The Navy helicopter loaded up with Washoe County Search and Rescue personnel, Regan said, and flew over the avalanche site, which Regan said is “very unstable.”

In all, seven search and rescue personnel and four search and rescue dogs from Squaw Valley Ski Patrol and Washoe County Search and Rescue combed the site for about 3 hours by ski and snowshoe for any potential victims.

Regan said rescuers did not receive any type of transceiver signal coming from beneath the snow.

He said the avalanche’s fracture area is about 100 feet wide.

In all, Washoe County Search and Rescue, NLTFPD, SFPD, Mt. Rose Ski Patrol and Squaw Valley Ski Patrol officials were on scene ” they staged in the Slide Mountain parking lot on Mt. Rose.

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