Sierra avalanche kills ski patrol member

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Sierra avalanche kills ski patrol member

Post by ERIC » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:27 am

Sierra avalanche kills ski patrol member

By Scott Sonner
Associated Press
Posted: 03/03/2009 09:17:33 PM PST
Updated: 03/04/2009 06:21:46 AM PST

SIERRA NEVADA — A member of the ski patrol was killed in an avalanche at Squaw Valley USA ski resort near Lake Tahoe on Tuesday as a severe winter storm dumped several feet of snow on the region and forced the closure of nearly a 100-mile stretch of U.S. Interstate 80 west of Reno.

Andrew Entin, 41, a longtime member of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol, was working on avalanche controls about 8 a.m. when he was caught in a slide and partially buried, Squaw Valley Fire Department spokesman Pete Bansen said.

Another member of the ski patrol dug him out while emergency crews responded to the scene, but he later died at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Bansen said. The cause of death was under investigation. Entin's hometown was not immediately known.

The resort south of Truckee and northwest of Lake Tahoe hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

More than 4 feet of snow has fallen at upper elevations of the region during the last 24 hours as the strongest winter storm of the season makes it way across the Sierra.

White-out conditions and jackknifed trucks forced the closure Tuesday afternoon of the stretch of I-80 from Reno west to Applegate. It was expected to remain closed late into the night, the California Highway Patrol said.

The storm also brought much needed rain to the valleys of western Nevada but forecasters said the rain in the Reno-Carson City area would change to snow later Tuesday night. Several inches of snow was expected in the valleys overnight.

The Lake Tahoe region and Reno-Sparks area remained under a winter storm warning through Wednesday morning.

The California Highway Patrol originally closed about a 30-mile stretch of I-80 in both directions from the Nevada-California line to Truckee because blowing snow led to zero visibility Tuesday afternoon.

The closure later was expanded another 60 miles west to Applegate because eight to 10 tractor-trailer rigs had jackknifed in that stretch, the patrol said.

Chains or snow tires were required on all other mountain passes, U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit, U.S. 395 north of Reno and the Mount Rose Highway that connects Reno to Lake Tahoe.

Travel restrictions also were posted for Washoe Valley south of Reno.

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