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2 California Ski Resorts Hit by Avalanches

Skiers Buried by Avalanches Following Blizzard
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Skiers Buried by Avalanches Following Blizzard

Three people were partially buried in an avalanche that closed a ski resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains in central California Satuday morning.

The three people, who were able to extricate themselves from the snow, were unhurt, officials with the Mammoth Mountain ski area said. Mammoth Mountain is located about 500 kilometers north of Los Angeles.

The slide occurred in an area of the mountain where avalanche control work -- where crews purposely set off smaller slides in an effort to prevent a larger one -- was being done. The area had been closed to the public, but debris from the purposely set slides crossed into an area where people were skiing and snowboarding.

The resort remained closed Saturday and was expected to open on Sunday, resort officials said.

On Friday, an avalanche struck the Olympic Valley ski area near Lake Tahoe, about 225 kilometers north of Mammoth Mountain.

Five people were swept up in that avalanche, leaving one hospitalized with lower-body injuries, officials said. In a video shared on social media, rescuers could be seen using their hands to dig out one buried snowboarder.

Recent snowstorms have dropped nearly 2 meters of snow in some areas. On Thursday at Mammoth Mountain, heavy wet snow was covered with a lighter snow. A storm on Friday did the same, leading to conditions that often cause slides, local residents told the Los Angeles Times.