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The Inertia

A powerful winter storm that was predicted to drop up to five feet in the Sierras has impacted the region in a big way. A group of five snowboarders was caught in an inbounds avalanche at Northern California’s Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows yesterday. Coincidentally, the body of a missing snowboarder was found that morning.

Heather Turping was riding with her boyfriend when she heard someone scream, “avalanche!” and saw a plume of white mist.

“It was massive,” she said. “It just happened to literally pass a foot in front of me.”


Turping heard another rider yell that her husband was buried. That’s when they saw a snowboard poking out of the snow and she started digging. “I took my gloves off and I helped dig him out,” she said. “When he got uncovered, a ski patroller said, ‘You were under for six minutes.'”

He wasn’t hurt and was actually able to ride down to the base area. Another snowboarder, however, reportedly suffered a serious lower body injury.

Squaw Valley released a press release following the slide, which you can read, here. “The trigger of the avalanche is unknown at this time,” it read, “but a full investigation of the incident and its cause will be conducted.”

The missing snowboarder was a seperate incident. The body of 42-year old Wenyu Zhang was found in the Squaw Creek area after going missing March 1, according to the resort.


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