Updated: 9:11 AM PDT, March 25, 2021
The fatal accident happened just before 1 p.m. on Saturday. The victim, identified by authorities as Timothy Schrader, of Truckee, was among three people who snowmobiled to the top of Frog Lake Cliffs. The weather caused low visibility, which made it difficult to see the edge of the ridge.
Schrader stepped off his snowmobile, and when he took a few steps toward the ledge, a 40-foot section of the cornice broke off underneath him.
“They fell onto the slope below with the large cornice pieces” and were swept “down the slope over cliffs and through rocks and chutes,” the Sierra Avalanche Center said in a statement.
Schrader came to rest about 900 feet below the cornice from which he fell. He was found “with traumatic injuries incompatible with life,” officials said.
Before emergency personnel arrived on scene, bystanders who witnessed the event from below attempted to perform CPR, but Schrader was pronounced dead at the scene.
In the last year, 25 people in the U.S. have died as a result of an avalanche, according to the National Avalanche Center.
The deadliest week in the U.S. since 1910 for avalanches was marked from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, with 14 fatalities. Experts say an increased interest in backcountry skiing amid the pandemic has contributed to the skyrocketing numbers, CNN reported.
An elementary school principal from Montana and a Colorado businessman were two of three people killed in separate avalanches last month in Colorado. Washington State Trooper Steve Houle was killed after being trapped by an avalanche as he rode a snow mobile last month as well.