Fresh powder in the Sierra brings big crowds to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Resorts. The latest dumping of two feet of snow is a good step to help combat the drought, but it also creates another potential danger: avalanches.
Thursday morning there were three avalanches near Alpine Meadows. The first pushed a shuttle bus into a house. The second struck a car on Alpine Meadows Road. The third caused minor damage at the resort's ski area.
Luckily, no one was hurt.
"It was just a rapid accumulation of 25-30 inches of snow and with the hard pack of snow underneath it, it just created a perfect storm for avalanche conditions," said North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District PIO Ron Carson.
Carson says Alpine Meadows Road is highly prone to avalanches, with the last significant one happening at least five years ago.
At the resorts, there have been plenty of artificial avalanches triggered to help prevent natural ones from causing damage and putting the public at risk.
"We use actual artillery to create avalanches before they're a natural hazard. So our ski patrol crews go out and trigger avalanches artificially and then we clear them so it's not a hazard once the mountain opens," said Liesel Kenney, PR Manager at Sqaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
Avid skier John McCauley understands avalanches are part of life up here. They aren't stopping him from enjoying the new snow blanketing the sierra.
"It is very surprising actually, but these things do happen its not gonna keep me from coming back up here tomorrow and the next day and the day after!" McCauley said.
The ski patrol was on the mountain doing avalanche control throughout the day Friday.
The North Tahoe Fire Department recommends people check sierraavalanchecenter.org for conditions and avalanche risks.