Ski Report

Alpine Meadows closed Thursday due to ‘severe avalanche danger’

Heavy overnight snowfall forced Alpine Meadows to close Thursday and Squaw Valley to shut for the morning due to “severe avalanche danger.”

The resorts reported 20 inches of snow over 24 hours, and an avalanche blocked a portion of Alpine Meadows Road between Bear Creek Drive and Deer Park Drive on Thursday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At least one avalanche began on the ridge between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows near the top of the Olympic Lady chairlift but outside the ski area boundary, according to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows spokeswoman Liesl Kenney. The Alpine Meadows Road area experienced three natural avalanches Thursday morning.

Nobody was injured, Kenney said.

The Sierra Avalanche Center warned Thursday morning that “large human-triggered avalanches that run long distances and involve large amounts of snow are likely today and natural avalanches may remain possible this morning.” It said that slopes with layers of snow deposited by wind were particularly dangerous Thursday on mountains angled at 35 degrees or steeper.

Squaw Valley opened four lifts on its lower mountain at 1:30 p.m., the resort said on Twitter. Kenney said that Alpine Meadows closed at least once earlier this year and that avalanche closures have occurred “fairly often during big snow years.”

The Bee’s Brad Branan contributed to this report.

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