March 4, 2018
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA — At approximately 10:15AM on Saturday, March 3rd, Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol was performing routine avalanche mitigation work in a closed area when a large avalanche released on the Climax ski run. The avalanche traveled down Upper Dry Creek and terminated at the bottom lift terminal of High Five Express [Chair 5]. The powder cloud from the avalanche extended about 100 meters into an area open to the public, where two guests were partially caught. Both were able to immediately free themselves without serious injury. Additionally, six employees working at the bottom of the closed lift were partially caught, but freed themselves quickly, suffering only minor injuries.
Ski Patrol was on scene with initial rescue efforts within moments, and search operations began immediately. Ski Patrol led a 6-hour search, which included the use of transceivers, RECCO, avalanche rescue dogs, and a manual probe search, all with no results reported. Nearly 200 employees, first responders and guests contributed to the effort on-hill.
Within minutes of the call, Mammoth initiated its emergency response protocols, and multiple agencies and resources responded. Mammoth extends a sincere thank you to all the guests, employees, and other first responders who immediately responded to the scene, as well as to the Mono County Sheriff’s Office, Mammoth Lakes Police Department, Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, Mono County Search and Rescue, Mono County Paramedics, California Highway Patrol, Mammoth Lakes CERT and Inyo County Search and Rescue, all of whom assisted with an overwhelming response.
A full investigation is underway.