Search for man who went missing at California ski resort continues amid avalanche warning

Rory Angelotta, 43, was last seen on Christmas Day.

December 27, 2021, 4:53 PM

Search and rescue crews are battling severe weather as they are hunting for a man last seen on Christmas Day at a California ski resort, according to the Placer County Sheriff's Office.

Rory Angelotta, 43, was reported missing to police around 10 p.m. on Dec. 25 after he failed to show up for Christmas dinner with friends, authorities said.

Police said Angelotta's ski pass was last scanned at 11:30 a.m. that day at the Northstar Ski Resort in Truckee. An emergency ping from his cell phone was sent just five minutes before his pass was scanned, which showed him making a short call from the area before being turned off. His vehicle was also discovered by police parked in the Northstar parking lot, officials said.

Severe weather has hampered search and rescue efforts, according to the sheriff's office. After being suspended Sunday night due to weather, the search continued Monday amid whiteout conditions.

To make matters more challenging, heavy snow has the area under an avalanche warning, according to the U.S. Forest Service Sierra Avalanche Center, which officials said has limited the search to established areas of the resort and along the edges.

PHOTO: Skiers and snowboarders explore the slopes at Northstar California Resort in Truckee, Calif., March 17, 2016.
Skiers and snowboarders explore the slopes at Northstar California Resort in Truckee, Calif., March 17, 2016.
San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images, FILE

"The hope is that if the weather clears up today, searchers will be able to get to more of the remote areas he may have gone," Mike Powers, a public information officer with the sheriff's office, told ABC News.

The Avalanche Center said "large natural avalanches and human-triggered avalanches are expected" through Tuesday morning in the mountains.

Angelotta moved to the Truckee area from Colorado in October, according to the sheriff's office, and was the general manager of the Surefoot ski shop at the Northstar Ski Resort. A post from Surefoot's Instagram account described Angelotta as an "experienced backcountry skier."

"We are hopeful that he has been able to hunker down and stay warm," the shop wrote.

Northstar tweeted Monday that its mountains would be closed for the second day in a row, citing blizzard conditions and "a large overnight snowfall."

California has seen an abundance of snow this month, with the U.C. Berkley Sierra Snow Lab reporting a record-breaking 193.7 inches in December on Monday, smashing the previous record of 179 inches set in 1970.

PHOTO: Missing California skier Rory Angelotta is pictured in an undated social media photo released by the Placer County Sheriff's Office.
Missing California skier Rory Angelotta is pictured in an undated social media photo released by the Placer County Sheriff's Office.
Placer County Sheriff's Office

The lab reported heavy snow continuing into Monday. It's possible that measurements could surpass 200 inches for the month by the end of the day.

The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, Nevada County Search and Rescue and Northstar Ski Patrol are working with the sheriff's office to find Angelotta.

Anyone that has seen or spoken with Angelotta since Christmas Day can contact the Placer County Sheriff's Office at 530-886-5375. Police said he was believed to be wearing a navy blue Fly Low jacket, blue helmet and black goggles.

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