A ski patrol member was killed in an accident involving explosives used to intentionally trigger an avalanche at a Lake Tahoe resort where more than 20 feet of snow has piled up during winter storms over the past three weeks.
Officials at Squaw Valley Ski Resort say 42-year-old Joe Zuiches of Olympic Valley, California was killed Tuesday morning while working with an avalanche-control crew to try to reduce the threat of a sudden, natural avalanche before the slopes were scheduled to open to the public.
The Placer County Sheriff's Office and the North Tahoe Fire Department are investigating the accident and official cause of death. But the resort said in a statement Tuesday afternoon the "cause is believed to be the detonation of an explosive charge." He died at about 8:30 a.m.
Zuiches had been a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012.The resort says he left behind a wife and infant son. Family and friends have established the Joe Zuiches Memorial Fund through Go Fund Me to help cover funeral expenses.