Deep snow is blamed for the death of two skiers, and injuries to another, in three separate accidents that took place in the Sierra Mountains this past weekend. That region was hit hard with a late-winter blizzard that resulted in as much as four feet of fresh powder in certain areas.
The first incident took place at the Castle Creek ski area on Sunday where 54-year-old Yiwei Hu fell through a hole in the snow and was unable to get out. The deep snow that he was skiing across was hollowed out by flowing water underneath which resulted in the unstable conditions. It is unclear how long Hu was in the hole, but authorities say he had already passed away before they arrived on the scene.
Snowboarder Kynan Stanners suffered a similar fate when he landed headfirst into deep snow at the China Peak Mountain Resort on Sunday. Apparently the 30-year-old was unable to extricate himself from the fresh powder and suffocated on the spot before anyone could come to his rescue.
Finally, Michael Dalzell was snowboarding at Kirkwood Mountain Resort on Saturday when he was swept up in a small avalanche. The man was treated for minor, non-life threatening injuries at a nearby hospital and was later released.
Typically when you hear about fatal skiing accidents it is because the people involved were being reckless or had ventured out of bounds. In each of these cases, however, the men were on designated runs at each of the resorts they were visiting at the time. The heavy snow just happened to make the conditions unexpectedly dangerous and as a result two people lost their lives. The lesson to be learned here is that we should never ski alone, as both of the deaths could have been prevented had they had companions with them on the slopes.