The body of 23-year-old Placer County ski instructor Carson May was found Monday buried under five feet of snow, six weeks after he went missing in the back country of Sugar Bowl ski resort near Lake Tahoe. May told friends he was headed out solo skiing during white-out conditions in the avalanche-prone, off-limits backside of the resort on January 14, and had not been heard from since. As CBS 5 reports, he was reported missing by friends the morning of January 15, and a final ping from his cell phone that day allowed searchers to hone in on his location. Nonetheless, hazardous conditions and continued snowfall meant that the search had to be called off after three days in January.
Per the Chronicle, "Crews from the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team and the El Dorado County Search and Rescue dog teams found May’s body Monday while training near their original search area."
One day after May's disappearance, 29-year-old snowboarder Christian Mares was caught in an avalanche in a different off-limits area of Sugar Bowl, and caught the whole thing on his GoPro camera. He and his friends, luckily, survived unscathed, but the resort was threatening to press charges against him.
At the time, a local ski shop owner, Mitzi Hodges, told NBC affiliate KCRA, "I have lost so many friends to avalanches through the years that I don't want to lose another friend to an avalanche."
Up to 400 volunteers were at one point taking part in the search for May, despite the hazardous conditions, but perhaps some recent snowmelt in the area helped locate him after some heavy snows blanketed the region in late January.
The pent-up desire for daredevil skiers to ski pristine, back-country terrain has been great this season after so many consecutive drought years with limited snowfall, and a figure cited by the Sacramento Bee suggests that such prohibited activity is up 70 percent nationwide.