2 hurt in avalanche at Squaw Valley

Crews search for missing skier at Squaw Valley Ski Resort sArtHead =

"It looked like a blazing cloud of snow coming down", she said.

All skiing and riding operations at Squaw Valley Ski Resort were put on hold earlier in the day after a snowboarder, missing since the previous afternoon, was found dead.

That was a relief to residents of the coastal foothill town of Montecito, northwest of Los Angeles.

On Jan. 9, a storm dropped a huge amount of rain very swiftly on Montecito, unleashing debris-laden flash floods that destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes, killed 21 people and left two missing.

As many as 30,000 people are under orders to leave Friday in foothill communities of Santa Barbara County, including areas devastated by deadly mud flows in January.

"We have come through this with minimal impact", said Rob Lewin, director of the county Office of Emergency management.

Placer County sheriff's deputies say an avalanche occurred Friday afternoon. He said the avalanche sounded like a train.

Turning's video shows a handful of rescuers using shovels and bare hands to pull out the man as his head peeks out of the snow.

"That's what saved his life", said rescuer Heather Turping, according to the Associated Press.

"I took my gloves off and I helped dig him out", Turping said.

"When he got uncovered, a ski patroller said, 'You were under for six minutes, '" she said.

Remarkably, the man managed to not only escape injury but was also able to snowboard back to safety.

The resort says a man was hospitalized with a serious lower body injury, another person was treated and released and three people weren't hurt.

"We had assessed the area to be safe to open to the public and unfortunately an avalanche did occur after that assessment was made", Hepburn said.

Less than five hours later at 1:40 p.m., an avalanche at the resort swept away five people near the Olympic Lady chairlift.

A blizzard warning issued by the National Weather Service expired Friday, but a storm warning remains in effect until 10 a.m. Saturday.



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