Avalanche closes Mammoth Mountain ski resort, partially buries 3

Avalanche closes Mammoth Mountain ski resort, partially buries 3
Posted at 3:21 PM, Mar 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-04 11:59:51-05

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif.(KGTV) - Mammoth Mountain closed Saturday after three people were partially buried in an apparent avalanche.

The popular snow resort issued the closure on Twitter, saying the avalanche struck just after 10 a.m. while Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol was performing avalanche hazard mitigation, which could involve structural measures or artificial triggering of high-risk areas.

"All rescue measures are in place and the mountain is currently closed," officials tweeted.

The three individuals partially buried were able to free themselves. There have been no reports of missing persons, the resort said.

"Avalanche protocols were initiated immediately. The first searches with transceivers, avalanche dogs and a RECCO search have not produced any results. The third stage of the avalanche protocol involving a manual probe search is underway," officials tweeted at 11:50 a.m.

The resort didn't immediately indicate how the avalanche was triggered. The avalanche occurred on the upper part of the mountain, officials said, falling toward the High Five Express (Chair 5).

The mountain plans on resuming normal operations Sunday. Officials advised if anyone needs to be reported missing, to call 760-934-0611.

Mammoth Mountain reported receiving three to five feet of fresh snow overnight and that "it's still absolutely dumping" Saturday morning.

The avalanche is the second such incident to strike California mountains this week following heavy snowfall from a winter storm. An avalanche buried five guests at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., Friday. No one life-threatening injuries were reported in that avalanche.