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No Victims in Avalanche at Mammoth

Volunteers and ski patrol search the mountain after a snow slide on the Climax run.

April 18, 2006|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

An avalanche hit the Mammoth Mountain ski resort Monday, but no skiers were reported missing or found trapped in the snow, officials said.

The Mammoth Mountain ski patrol, along with more than 300 volunteers, searched the slide area for possible victims and planned to conduct another sweep with avalanche dogs Monday evening, said Joani Lynch, a spokeswoman for the resort.

The avalanche occurred about 2 p.m. on the Climax run, a trail named for a type of avalanche that involves multiple layers of snow.

The top of the mountain, where the extremely difficult run is located, had opened just an hour before the incident. On Monday morning, ski patrollers had conducted avalanche control, which involves using explosives and a manual technique called ski cutting to clear snow that could slide in an avalanche.

The mountain was shut down immediately after the avalanche to allow all trained personnel who work on the mountain to respond, Lynch said.

"As of yet, there have been no reports of serious injury or missing people," Lynch said in a statement. "We are conducting a precautionary probe of the area right now."

The avalanche occurred two days after the resort held a memorial service for John "Scott" McAndrews, 37; James Juarez, 35; and Charles Walter Rosenthal, 58, Mammoth ski patrol members killed April 6 when they fell into a crevasse formed by a geothermal vent they were trying to fence off and were overcome by gases. Seven other ski patrollers were injured.

Their deaths brought the total this year to eight at the popular Eastern Sierra ski resort.

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