A snowboarder is lucky to be alive after surviving an avalanche at Sugar Bowl Resort near Lake Tahoe but now faces possible prosecution for trespassing and endangering others by trigging the avalanche in a closed area.
Sugar Bowl Resort issued a press release Wednesday saying it is working with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department to pursue prosecution of Christian Michael Mares after he knowingly traversed into an area of East Palisades called Perco’s, which has been closed to the public since the 2010-11 ski season.
“The area is clearly marked as closed from both the Mt. Disney and Mt. Lincoln directions, and it is a very active avalanche area,” Sugar Bowl Resort wrote. “As such, Mares put himself, his friends, ski patrol and the skiing public at risk …
“The irresponsible and reckless decision to snowboard or ski in closed terrain endangers other skiers and ski patrol, and will not be tolerated.”
The incident occurred Friday, Jan. 15. Mares posted a video of his ordeal on YouTube the following day. Warning for strong language:
“Luckily I swam my way to the top and didn’t get buried,” Mares wrote on his Facebook page. “I def got lucky.”
Presumably, Sugar Bowl Resort officials launched its investigation after seeing the video and decided to pursue prosecution.
“Normally, when skiers or riders choose to enter into a closed area, resort management will pull the skier’s pass for a duration of time, ban the skier for the remainder of the season or, if serious enough, for multiple seasons,” Sugar Bowl Resort wrote.
“However, since Mares is not a Sugar Bowl season pass-holder and given the magnitude and severity of this situation, and the fact that patrol, staff and public were put at serious risk from Mares’ decisions and actions, Sugar Bowl has now turned this incident over to the Placer County Sheriff’s Department for prosecution under California Penal Code 602(r), which refers to trespassing into a closed area of a ski resort.”
The incident was not connected to the search for Sugar Bowl ski instructor Carson May, who has been missing since Thursday.
Sadly, search efforts for the 23-year-old were suspended indefinitely Tuesday. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office cited high avalanche risks and heavy snow after five days of unsuccessful rescue efforts, the Sacramento Bee reported.
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