UPDATE: Ski patroller, 53, dies after being buried in Monday avalanche at Alpine Meadows
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 25:
The following statement was just released by Alpine spokeswoman Amelia Richmond:
“Bill Foster, a respected member of Alpine Meadows’ professional ski patrol team, passed away at Renown Hospital after being caught in an avalanche yesterday. Bill was one of Alpine Meadows’ very best and most experienced professional ski patrollers. Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers continue to be with Bill’s wife and all of their family and friends.”
In a follow-up email, Richmond confirmed Foster was 53 years old.
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. – 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.
According to a statement from Amelia Richmond, Public Relations Manager at Squaw Valley (which owns neighboring Alpine Meadows), the patroller, a male, was caught in the avalanche at about 10:45 a.m. Monday in the resort’s Sherwood Bowl area.
The man’s medical condition is unclear as of this writing. The resort would not release the identity of the ski patroller or whether he survived his injuries, said spokeswoman Amelia Richmond in a follow-up email to The Union newspaper.
The patroller, whose age was not included in the statement, was part of a team of patrollers performing routine snow safety in the area, which was closed to the public at the time.
“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.”
The patroller was found within one minute and uncovered within eight minutes from the time of the avalanche, Richmond said.
After uncovering the buried patroller, members of the ski patrol team immediately began CPR. The patroller was transported to an ambulance and then transported via CareFlight helicopter to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.
The patroller has 28 years of experience on Alpine Meadows’ professional ski patrol, Richmond said, and he routinely performed snow safety in this area.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the patroller and his family and also with the Alpine Meadows family, at this time,” Richmond said.
– Christopher Rosacker of The Union, the Sun’s sister paper in Grass Valley, contributed to this report.