Supplied: Hannah Sugerman

Australians Survive Deadly Avalanche At Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort

In an incident at Palisades Tahoe in California, three Australian skiers narrowly escaped death after being buried in an avalanche during their ski trip. 

Unfortunately, the avalanche claimed the life of a local man identified as Kenneth Kidd, 66, making him the first US avalanche casualty of the winter season.

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The avalanche struck on Thursday morning Australian time, leaving siblings Hannah Sugerman and Oliver Thompson, along with Ms Sugerman’s partner Callum, trapped in its icy grip. 

She described the overwhelming force of the snow, saying that it weighed far more than she could have ever imagined.

While Ms Sugerman and her partner managed to find each other in the aftermath, they had to search for Mr Thompson, who had been thrown hundreds of metres down the mountain by the force of the avalanche. 

Despite suffering a dislocated knee and fractures in his tibia and fibula, Mr Thompson survived the terrifying ordeal.

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“I thought you were dead,” were the first words between Ms Sugerman and Mr Thompson when they finally reunited on the mountainside. 

“I’m alive so I think that’s all that matters,” Mr Thompson said.

The cause of the avalanche remains unclear, but the region had experienced heavy snowfall and high winds for the preceding day. 

Palisades Tahoe, formerly known as Squaw Valley and the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, reopened on Thursday local time. 

Michael Gross, vice president of mountain operations at the resort, said that ski patrol had been conducting avalanche assessments in the area where the avalanche occurred.

The resort expressed gratitude to the first responders, including ski patrollers, avalanche rescue dog teams, lift operators, and local agencies, who swiftly responded to the emergency. 

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