The Latest: Report: 2nd person dies as snow hits California

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on snowstorms in the mountains of California (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

A newspaper says another person has died in the deep snow dropped in the California mountains by a strong winter storm.

The Fresno Bee <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article203302499.html”>says</a> Blake Smith was snowboarding with his friends at China Peak Mountain Resort when his life ended in a freak accident.

Tim Cohee, China Peak’s managing partner and general manager, told the newspaper that the 36-year-old Smith was snowboarding Friday when he fell headfirst into a 5-foot embankment of fresh snow and suffocated when he couldn’t free himself.

The resort had reopened just hours earlier after weeks of being shut down due to a lack of snow.

A snowboarder died a day earlier at Squaw Valley Ski Resort as the winter storm rolled through California.

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2 p.m.

An avalanche has prompted the closure of a second major California ski resort in as many days.

The Mono County Sheriff’s department says three people were partially buried but unhurt by an avalanche Saturday at Southern California’s Mammoth Mountain ski resort.

Resort officials said the avalanche occurred at about 10:15 a.m. while resort workers were in an area closed to the public attempting so-called avalanche mitigation, which includes purposely creating smaller slides.

The avalanche poured down the mountain and into an open run crowded with skiers and boarders. The resort then closed for the day.

A Northern California avalanche on Friday injured two people and closed Squaw Valley ski resort.

Heavy storms have drenched coastal areas and dumped more than 6 feet of snow in some higher elevations.

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