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Thursday, December 30, 2010

#SAR: Alpine Meadows - Missing Snowboarder Search Continues

Update: 0900hrs #NoJoy Snowboarder has been located and is deceased...

Searchers spotted the body of Shawnte Marie Willis, 25, of Tahoma, from a helicopter, Placer County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Ausnow said.

They were lowered down to Willis' body, which was in a tree well. Willis appears to have crashed while snowboarding although what caused her to die will not be known until an autopsy can be performed next week, Ausnow said.
#Search resumes for missing Alpine Meadows skier resumes -Snowboarder Shawnte Willis remains missing today in the Sierra backcountry. Willis was last seen snowboarding off the backside of Alpine Meadows ski resort at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Capt. Jeff Ausnow, commander of the Tahoe Placer County Sheriff's division, said the search resumed at 7 a.m. today with more than 40 cross-country skiers and snowshoers attempting to find the 25-year-old Tahoma woman. Clear skies and lower wind speeds will also allow the rescue team to use helicopters to search from the air, Ausnow said.

Location: Alpine Meadows Ski Resort Wolverine Bowl area near Lake Tahoe in Placer County.
Resources:  More than a dozen snowshoe and cross country skiers rescuers fought 35 inches of new snow in their ongoing search, Three choppers are scheduled to fly at different times throughout the day, he said. 
Weather: Search efforts both Tuesday and Wednesday were hampered by storms, wind and the danger from high avalanche conditions. The Blizzard conditions and deep snow prevented the use of snowmobiles, during the first day of searching, Five search crews fighting 120 mile-per-hour winds in whiteout conditions searched for the missing woman. - Placer County sheriff's spokesman said.
Missing Person: Known as a veteran athlete, she had several factors in her favor.
"She is known to be an intermediate-level snowboarder and she was dressed appropriately: she has a helmet, proper gear, warm clothing and so forth. She does know this area; she snowboards this area quite a bit so hopefully she is familiar with the terrain and hopefully she is trying to make her way back and will cross paths with the search teams," said Placer County Sheriff's Department Capt. Jeff Ausnow.
  Willis has a history of epilepsy, but her cousin, Don Hubbs said he is hopeful Willis may have used her snowboard to build a snow cave as shelter from the storm, The Sacramento Bee reported.
"That's what I'm thinking," Hubbs said. "She should know to dig a hole and hunker down."

Source Articles:
Auburn Journal Link
UPI - Link
Sac Bee - Link

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