Avalanches Kill Four in Washington State

February 22, 2012 Updated: April 12, 2012

Three skiers and a snowboarder were killed in two different avalanches in Washington state on Sunday, according to local media reports.

The snowboarder was killed in Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass after he triggered the avalanche, which swept him off a cliff, according to KING-5 television. Rescue workers found his body and said he likely fell around 500 feet to his death.

With bigger crowds at ski areas, “people want to get where the fresh snow is and things like that and unfortunately these areas that haven’t been controlled,’ Snoqualmie Pass Fire Chief Jay Wiseman told the station.

The three skiers were killed near the Stevens Pass ski area and were considered to be experts, reported KIRO-7 television. The men were likely swept down a 1,500-foot mountain chute.

A local official, Stevens Pass General Manager John Gifford, said that he heard reports that the avalanche may have been 20 feet deep.

“It’s very devastating to have three people pass away in an avalanche,” Gifford told the station. “Even though it’s outside the ski boundaries, it’s very hard on the community.”