Mammoth Mountain reopens after Saturday avalanche; no fatalities reported

Times Staff Report
Staff Writer

Mammoth Mountain reopened on Sunday, March 4 after an avalanche Saturday morning, March 3, closed the resort after partially burying several people. The partially buried people were able to escape the avalanche and as of Monday morning, March 5, no fatalities or missing people had been reported.

The incident occurred at approximately 10:15 a.m. on March 3 when Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol was performing routine avalanche mitigation work in a closed area when a large avalanche released on the Climax ski run, according to a news release from the Mountain.

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, according to the Mountain.

Ski Patrol was on scene with initial rescue efforts within moments, and search operations began immediately. Ski Patrol led a six-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.

Mountain officials stated they are not aware of any missing persons. If members of the public are aware of missing friends or family, call 760-934-0611.

A full investigation of the incident is underway, the Mountain stated in the news release.