SEATTLE — A powerful weekend storm that dumped several feet of snow in the Cascade mountains has prompted concern among officials at the .
“We saw several feet of snow fall over pretty much the entire range,” said Dennis D’Amico, the center’s forecast director.
Six skiers traveling in a closed area at Crystal Mountain ski resort Saturday triggered an avalanche and were trapped, resort officials said. Five of the skiers climbed out, but 66-year-old Robert Weisel was not breathing when pulled from the snow. He died at the scene.
“This is a known area where avalanches occur and it’s also an area where folks can travel safely at other times of the year,” D’Amico told KOMO-TV.
Officials with Alterra Mountain Company, the ownership group for Crystal Mountain, said it was the first time in the four years since they have owned the resort that a person was killed during an avalanche.
The incident has sparked concern about the rest of the Cascades, considering the mountain range is essentially all under “considerable avalanche danger,” officials said.
“Considerable literally means dangerous avalanche conditions exist,” D’Amico said. Forecasters plan to survey the site and interview the survivors to understand what happened. “We’re going to figure out whether it’s a human triggered or natural avalanche.”
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