Deadly in-bounds avalanche strikes below ski lift at Tahoe resort

Avalanche on mountain
Onlookers watched from the lift as the avalanche buried skiers, killing one (Image credit: Getty)

An in-bounds avalanche struck at a California ski resort yesterday morning, killing one skier and burying several others. The tragic incident took place around 9:30 a.m. on expert terrain Wednesday at Palisades Tahoe.

According to reporting in the San Francisco Chronicle, the slide was triggered by skiers shortly after the resort opened. Horrified onlookers watched from the K-22 lift as the avalanche formed in the steep gully terrain beneath them, spanning the entire width of the bowl. 

Some skiers were able to dig themselves out, but the resort reported on Instagram that while three buried skiers survived with non-life threatening injuries, a 66-year-old man had died. According to the sheriff's office, the avalanche debris field is approximately 150 feet wide, 450 feet long and 10 feet deep. 

Ski patrol responded immediately and the search and rescue mission, which entailed more than 100 personnel and used RECCO technology, was pronounced complete by early afternoon. The Olympic Valley resort remained closed for the remainder of the day.

The deceased has been named as Kenneth Kidd who was resident of both Point Reyes and the nearby Truckee area. The avalanche occurred as heavy snow has finally arrived in the Sierra Nevada mountains following a slow start to the season. A winter storm swept into the area Wednesday, bringing high winds and whiteout conditions last night.

In-bounds avalanches are extremely rare; the most recent fatality from an in-bounds avalanche in the area occurred four years ago at Alpine Meadows, which is connected to Palisades. However, skiers are reminded that avalanches can occur on any slope that is 30 degrees or steeper, and it is advised to undergo avalanche training before you undergo any form of skiing. The cause of the avalanche is under investigation, while the resort is set to reopen today.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.