California search and rescue teams are looking for a skier who disappeared on Christmas Day, and officials say rescue efforts have been hampered by record-breaking snowstorms in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
The man, Rory Angelotta, 43, a ski shop manager from Truckee, was reported missing Saturday when he did not show up for a Christmas dinner.
Angelotta’s last known abode is believed to be the Northstar Ski Resort, in the Tahoe region of the Sierra Nevadas, about 130 miles east of Sacramento.
The Place County Sheriff’s Office said their search for him has been hampered by severe weather and what a University of California research center said was record snowfall at the site in the Sierra Nevadas.
The sheriff’s office said Angelotta’s lift pass was last scanned at Comstock Lift at Northstar Ski Resort around noon Saturday and recorded no activity after that.
“An emergency ping on Angelotta’s phone last showed a short call made from the Northstar area at 11:25 a.m. before his phone was turned off. Angelotta’s vehicle was also found parked in Northstar’s parking lot,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
“Searchers responded and combed the mountain and surrounding areas despite extreme weather,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.
“Rescue workers were on skis, snowmobiles and a snowcat during their search,” it said. “They faced high avalanche danger, strong winds, white showers, cold temperatures and heavy snow loads before stopping their search on the evening of December 26.”
The sheriff’s office said search efforts continued Monday but faced “significant challenges” due to the violent storm.
The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Kelsey Angelotta, Angelotta’s sister, told the NBC-affiliated KCRA of Sacramento that her brother, who recently moved to the Lake Tahoe area, had never skied at the back of Northstar Mountain, which had just opened for the season.
“This is unknown territory,” she said.
University of California, Berkeley’s mountainside Central Sierra Snow Lab, about 15 miles west of Northstar, reported Tuesday morning that the precipitation there had been 202.1 inches so far in December, breaking the month’s record of 193.7 inches, set in 1970. It said that even more snow is expected to fall in the next few days.
The sheriff’s office said it was assisted in its search and rescue efforts by Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, Nevada County Search and Rescue and Northstar Ski Patrol.
The Place County Sheriff’s Office asked members of the public who may have seen or spoken to Angelotta the day he disappeared or since then to contact it.