The man who was killed Wednesday morning in an avalanche at Palisades Tahoe has been identified as a Bay Area resident who also had a home in Truckee.
Wednesday's avalanche occurred just after the lifts opened at Palisades amid a snowy morning, and the four skiers who became trapped in it were reportedly the first few down a slope, in the bowl beneath the lift near the peak called KT-22.
The trail is called GS Bowl, and it is a black diamond trail that opened for the first time this season just moments before the avalanche occured.
The one person who was killed has now been identified as 66-year-old Kenneth Kidd. As KTVU reports, Kidd had residences in Point Reyes and Truckee.
"This is a very sad day for my team and everyone here," said Dee Byrne, President and CEO of Palisades Tahoe Resort, during a press conference Wednesday in which she became visibly emotional.
This was the first avalanche to occur at the ski area since January 2020 — when an avalanche on the Alpine Meadows side of the resort killed one person and injured another.
One skier who became buried in the avalanche but was quickly pulled out by another skier, Janet He, says she was very lucky to have been spotted by someone.
Her husband, who had skied ahead of her, had no idea where she was.
"The avalanche happened just behind me," says He's husband, Joseph Lu, speaking to KPIX. "And I don't see her. I'm yelling and yelling. When I realized what may happen, it really struck me. I was using my ski pole frantically punching everywhere and yelling her name."
Janet He says that she could feel the snow giving way, and she ended up being swept down about 200 feet down the slope.
"The snow is already moving my feet, took me away and swept me off the mountain," she tells KPIX. "I couldn't pull myself up because the snow was so heavy on top of me. I was buried, my face buried in the snow. I'm lucky I had the face mask, I had some air in the face mask."
And, she says, she quickly heard someone above her saying, "No worries, I got you," and it was the fellow skier who rescued her.
"I think that's the best thing I ever heard in my life," she says.
A snowboarder from Santa Cruz, Jason Glickman, who was less than a minute away from being caught in the avalanche, and who saw its immediate aftermath from above, described the scene for the Chronicle.
"Everyone was focused on trying to find people who were caught," Glickman says. "No one was concerned with skiing or snowboarding."
Glickman's friend, who had avalanche training, began pulling up trail markers and using them to probe the snow in the debris area, in the hope of finding a person. Avalanche dogs and ski patrol were soon on the scene, and three people were successfully pulled from the snow.
Only Kidd was not found in time, or suffered more serious injuries.
All ski resorts in the Tahoe area have avalanche protocols, and the operations team at Palisades had reportedly been doing control work in the days ahead of Wednesday's disaster.
"Avalanches are extremely rare, but they do happen," says Ski California's president Michael Reitzell, speaking to KTVU.
Palisades Tahoe reopened for skiing Thursday, though the KT-22 area remained closed.
Photo via Palisades Tahoe