After skier death, resorts continue to warn of deep snow risks

Tacoma News TribuneFebruary 20, 2014 

Ski areas continue to warn skiers and snowboarders of deep snow risks after a man died at Crystal Mountain on Wednesday afternoon.

A 25-year-old Seattle man died after falling into a tree well at the resort. The ski patrol found the man within five minutes of receiving the report he was missing, but could not revive him.

Cyrstal Mountain officials had posted deep snow warnings on its website Wednesday morning and earlier in the week during a recent string of storms that dumped five feet of snow on the resort in four days. In addition to directing people to a website about deep snow safety, it has brochures and signs posted at the resort.

Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to ski together, avoid getting too close to trees and always keep within sight of each other.

“This serves as an unfortunate and sad reminder of how important it is to ski and ride with a partner, and keep them in sight, especially where there’s a lot of new and unsettled snow,” Paul Baugher, Crystal’s ski patrol director, said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon by the resort. 

All local ski resorts have deep snow conditions Thursday. Crystal Mountain packed on another 4 inches overnight. Alpental at the Summit at Snoqualmie received 12 inches in the last 24 hours.

White Pass received 18 inches in the last 24 hours. At Mt. Baker, the Washington ski area that usually collects the most snow, 108 inches have fallen over the past nine days.

The Northwest Avalanche Center says avalanche risk is “high” in most of the Cascades and the Olympics Thursday.

There were nearly 173 inches of snow at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park at 7 a.m. Thursday. The road to Paradise will be closed Thursday.

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