Avalanche claims lives of two skiers

The Associated Press
Friday February 23, 2001

TRUCKEE — Two teen-agers who failed to return from a skiing outing at Squaw Valley USA were found dead in an avalanche Thursday near the Lake Tahoe-area ski resort. 

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office recovered the bodies but still was working to establish the specific causes of death of the two 17-year-old California boys reported missing on Wednesday. 

Search and rescue volunteers on snowmobiles found them buried in 5- to 6-feet of snow about 11:30 a.m. Thursday between Squaw Valley and the neighboring Alpine Meadows ski resort to the south. 

“Details regarding what happened are still under investigation,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement Thursday afternoon. 

The victims were identified as Bryan Richmond of Truckee and Brendan Allen of Alpine Meadows, both described as experienced skiers. 

“Brendan was just the kind of person you would want to be around,” said George Williams, a local school official. 

“He lived, loved skiing and the outdoors,” he told KOLO-TV of Reno, Nev. 

The search began about 8 p.m. Wednesday when they failed to return.  

They had told friends they planned to ski from Squaw Valley to Alpine Meadows but didn’t show at 4 p.m. as agreed to for a ride back to their vehicles. 

Avalanche dangers were rated high in most of the rugged, mountain terrain outside the developed ski areas, including around Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. 

Authorities said the accident serves as a reminder that skiing outside of ski area boundaries is always hazardous. 

“The two skiers were very experienced Alpine skiers and had skied the same route before,” said Dan Ingalls, the sheriff’s incident commander. 

“However, the activity still carries considerable risk, especially during possible avalanche conditions.”