Snowboarder killed in California; skiers killed in France

Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts

Rescuers used bare hands and shovels to dig out a man buried in snow after an avalanche at a ski resort in California.

A Northern California winter storm killed a snowboarder Thursday, while an avalanche Friday caught five people at the Squaw Valley Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe.

An additional foot of snow is expected by Saturday and an avalanche warning was issued for the back country of the greater Tahoe area until early Saturday. There have been no reports of missing persons. It dumped 3 feet (1 meter) of snow in the mountains.

Also Friday, four French skiers - two men and two women - were killed in an avalanche in the French Alps, the Guardian reported.

A snowboarder missing since yesterday afternoon was found deceased at Squaw Valley Ski Resort.

Authorities launched a search effort that included ski patrols, police, emergency responders and rescue dogs, the sheriff's office said.

The avalanche came just hours after Wenyu Zhang, 42, vanished Thursday and died in the blizzard that was packing winds gusting to almost 150 mph (241 kph) over the ridge tops. Officials say the man was off the groomed run when he fell head-first into deep powder and suffocated. Another was taken to the Tahoe Truckee Medical Group at the base of the resort, was treated and released, while the three others left the scene unharmed, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue conducted an overnight search, which was then postponed due to high avalanche hazard.

"On behalf of everyone at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, we would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to the guest's family and friends", Hepburn said. "We hold them closely in our thoughts and prayers", a written statement from Squaw Valley stated.

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