A 23-year-old ski instructor who is believed to have disappeared in an avalanche-prone area at a Lake Tahoe-area resort was the subject of a dayslong search that continued Monday.
Carson May was last seen Thursday afternoon skiing at Sugar Bowl Resort, where he works.
He didn’t show up for his ride home, and his belongings were left in his locker, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, which was conducting the search for May.
His phone pinged Friday in an area with “recent avalanche activity” but had since stopped responding and was believed to have a dead battery, the Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook Sunday.
Dozens of skiers with Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, avalanche dogs, and searchers on snowmobiles and in a Snocat were looking for May.
Weather hindered search efforts and prevented helicopters from aiding until Monday, when aerial teams focused on backcountry areas that ground crews could not reach, according to KTLA’s sister station KTXL in Sacramento.
“It’s still too dangerous to go back there with this recent snow. … It’s created a high avalanche concern,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Dave Hunt told KTXL. “Helicopter is going to be looking for any clues of maybe skis, maybe a jacket.”
Authorities focused Monday on a grid search north of Mount Judah, especially between the peak and the resort’s employee locker room.
Hunt told KTXL the search was a rescue mission, not a recovery operation.
“If they have some survival skills and able to seek some shelter and use the resources around them such as the snow for hydration, they can survive out there for up to three, four, five days,” Hunt said.
Hunt advised resort-goers who venture out of bounds to tell a friend where they’re headed, go with someone else, and carry an avalanche beacon.
“If you go out on the backside and … you get yourself caught up in something, there’s nobody out there that’s going to know you’re there unless you told somebody,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “And it may be a while before we can get to you.”
May has worked at the resort for three years, the Bee reported. His father broke an international speed record for downhill skiing by a blind individual, according to the newspaper.
Sugar Bowl is in Norden, on the 80 Freeway northwest of Lake Tahoe and about 35 miles from the Nevada state line.
Correction: An inaccurate date on a photo caption has been corrected.