On the morning of January 10, an avalanche struck a recently opened inbounds slope of the Palisades Tahoe Ski area. One skier was killed. While details remain thin, rescuers are currently searching for potentially buried skiers. The avalanche occurred at about 9:30 a.m. in the KT-22 expert terrain area. The KT-22 terrain opened this morning, Palisades Tahoe had announced in an operations update.
“An avalanche occurred on the Palisades side, specifically above the GS gully area of KT-22,” the ski resort shared on Instagram late this morning. “Our Patrol and mountain operations teams are performing a search at this time. Both sides of our mountain will be closed for the day.”
In addition to the resort’s Ski Patrol, first responders, and Palisades’ Avalanche Dogs team, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office is also responding. The Palisades Ski Patrol also works closely with the Palisades National Ski Patrol (PNSP), an organization of approximately 85 unpaid volunteers trained in rescue and emergency response.
Palisades Tahoe did not immediately answer calls seeking further comment.
A Sierra backcountry avalanche forecast for today cited the avalanche danger as considerable. “Avalanche danger will quickly increase today with avalanches occurring in a variety of areas by this afternoon,” the report reads. The upper mountain area of Palisades had 2 inches of snow overnight, and the snow is expected to continue.
Palisades Tahoe is home to 3,600 skiable acres. The KT-22 terrain, where the avalanche occurred, tops out at just over 8,000 feet, with one lift serving nearby expert terrain, bowls, and chutes. The KT-22 Express is an iconic chairlift serving some of the most difficult terrain on the mountain. Palisades frequently gets 400+ inches of snowfall annually.
All lifts on the Palisades and Alpine sides are closed for the day.
We will post updates to this story as soon as more information becomes available, or you can find updates at Palisades Tahoe directly.
Updated Details on Inbounds Avalanche Incident, Resort Delays
Editor’s Update: After our initial reporting, Palisades Tahoe and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office released an update on the incident. This article was updated on January 11, 2024.
“Palisades Tahoe Ski Patrol responded immediately to the scene and completed a thorough search of the area with the help of over 100 resort personnel,” it announced. “A male skier sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased by Tahoe Forest Hospital. Three other skiers sustained non-life threatening injuries, and were released after initial treatment. The entire Palisades Tahoe team extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those involved in the incident.”
Due to recent snowfall and avalanche debris, an access road near the KT-22 terrain is now closed. Because the resort patrol is unable to access that road, “it will take longer to assess all terrain and get everything open,” Palisades reported. “Delays will be more significant than usual.”
The cause of the avalanche is still under investigation by local authorities.