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In sad news out of the Northern Sierra, a Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski patrol person was killed while doing avalanche work this morning at around 8:35 a.m. Squaw Valley released a statement on its website this afternoon:

Joe Zuiches, a 42-year-old resident of Olympic Valley and a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012, was killed in a fatal incident at 8:35 AM this morning, prior to regularly scheduled operations, during avalanche control activities at the top of Gold Coast Ridge at Squaw Valley. The cause is believed to be the detonation of an explosive charge. An investigation is ongoing in cooperation with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and North Tahoe Fire Department.

“The team at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is deeply saddened by this tragic event and would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends affected,” said an earlier release.

Squaw Valley is closed today while Alpine Meadows remains open and information about the accident is not yet available. The resort has received at least 70 inches of snow in the series of storms this January, causing havoc for safety personnel.

This story was updated at 3:40pm PST




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