The West’s Deadly Big Snow Weekend

by The Editors on March 6, 2018

We began tracking the storm a week and a half out and new it was going to hit perfectly for a weekend of powder blasting. By Thursday night, March 1, 2018 the snow was piling in. On Friday afternoon some California resorts were reporting up to eight feet of fresh snow. It was set up to be a big weekend, but by the time it was over it was one of the deadliest weekends the West has ever seen. Here’s how it unfolded.

Thursday March 1, 2018

Wenyu Zhang, 42, of Rocklin, California was snowboarding at Squaw Valley when the mountain was hit by wind gusts up to 146 miles an hour. Later in the night his friends reported him missing. Because of the storm a search for him is called off on Thursday. Zhang’s body is not found until Friday morning. (NY Post)

Friday March 2, 2018 

Blake Smith, 36, a season pass holder at California’s China Peak resort, was snowboarding when he reportedly “fell head-first into about 5 feet of fresh snow,” according to the Fresno Bee. He was unable to dig himself out and suffocated.

Alfonso Braun, 24, of Bend, Oregon was found “buried in the snow” around noon at Mt. Bachelor by other snowboarders and skiers. They dug him out but ski patrol was unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at 1:15 PM. Two hours later a 19 year old skier from Eugene, Oregon, Nicole Panet-Raymond, was reported missing. Her body was found by search crews in a tree well at 8:30 PM. (KTVZ)

On Friday afternoon, Evan and Kahlynn Huck (along with three other people) were caught up in an avalanche that swept near the Olympic Lady chairlift at Squaw Valley Resort. Kahlynn was able to free herself, but her husband Evan was buried for close to six minutes before nearby skiers and snowboarders were able to dig him out. He had passed out and was turning blue but came to after being rescued. Click the link to watch the rescue. (SF Gate)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

At 10:15 while ski patrol was doing avalanche control at the top of Mammoth Mountain a slide ripped down the Climax run, down Upper Dry Creek and blasted past the bottom of the High Five Express lift. Eight people (six Mammoth Mountain employees and two guests) were partially buried, but all of them were able to free themselves and no one was injured.  (LA Times)

For video of the Mammoth avalanche’s powder cloud blowing past the bottom of the High Five Express, click here. (CBS LA)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A mother and son (Olga Perkovic, 50, and Aaron Goodstein, 7) who were skiing back to their slope-side condominium at Kirkwood Ski Resort died when snow slid off the roof of a building and buried them sometime after 4 PM. They were found 9 PM after after a neighbor noticed gloves in the snow. (Reno Gazette)


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