A 49-year old snowboarder died Monday after being caught in an avalanche at a California ski resort. The tragedy occurred at the Donner Ski Ranch located approximately 90 miles northeast of Sacramento.
Storms affecting the Lake Tahoe area brought approximately three feet of new snowfall recently. The snow accumulation caused several avalanche-related emergencies, according to the Associated Press.
Identified as Steven Mark Anderson, Monday’s victim was snowboarding alone when the avalanche occurred. Anderson made the trip with friends, but the group had not been together at the time of the incident.
Nearly three hours after the avalanche occurred, the snowboarder’s friends became aware that he was missing. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Department received their concerned call at noon on Monday.
The delay caused the search to start hours after the man most likely fell victim to the rushing snow, says Deputy David Lade:
“They spent a lot of time trying to locate him.”
Rescuers recovered the victim’s body at the avalanche base at approximately 1:30 pm. A search dog located the man buried beneath two to three feet of snow. The area where Anderson had been snowboarding reportedly incurred snow drifts upwards of seven feet.
An article by KCRA reports that Anderson was probably buried in the drift for approximately five hours before being found. Recently returning to the area, this was Anderson’s first snowboarding excursion of the season.
According to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department, there were several other skiers and snowboarders in the area when the avalanche struck, but none were affected adversely by the slide. The ski resort closed site of the avalanche following the California snowboarder’s death.