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Tahoe ski patroller dies during avalanche control activities

Posted: 12:55 AM, Jan 25, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-25 06:01:00Z
SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- A ski patroller died in an explosion while taking part in avalanche control duties at a Tahoe resort Tuesday morning
 
Joe Zuiches, 42, had been working before Squaw Valley resort's opening hours and was killed after the detonation of an explosive charge, according to the company, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
 
Ski patrol at most resorts perform avalanche control activities using explosives in the morning before opening the slopes to visitors. These procedures are to prevent avalanches while guests are at the resort.
 
The Placer County Sheriff's Office and North Tahoe Fire Department are investigating the death.
 
"Most of the hand charges are relatively safe," said Lt. Fred Guitron, Placer County Sheriff's Office. "They're being used all over ski resorts all over the United States. So it is unique to have something like this happen."
 
Zuiches, of Olympic Valley, Calif., had been a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012. He had a wife and infant son, according to the company.
 
Andy Worth, president of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said Zuiches was highly trained and the "best of the best folks that run avalanche control."
 
"The whole team at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is deeply saddened by this tragic loss. We're a family and this impacts everyone on our team," he said.
 
The resort is expected to re-open Wednesday.
 
The company thanked its mountain operations team for "working through this storm cycle that provided over 23 feet of snow in 23 days," on its website.
 
CNN's Cheri Mossburg, Augie Martin and Melanie Whitely contributed to this report.
 
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