Squaw Valley ski patroller killed during avalanche control; resort to reopen Wed.

Joseph Zuiches, a Squaw Valley ski patroller, died on Tuesday during avalanche control, according to Squaw Valley. He was 42.

The North Lake Tahoe ski resort says Zuiches, an Olympic Valley resident, was killed during avalanche control activities at 8:35 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24. 2017 at the top of Gold Coast Ridge at Squaw Valley.

The cause of death, officials say, is believed to be the detonation of an ammonium nitrate charge that is used in avalanche mitigation. A member of the Placer County Sheriff's Office said the type of charge is commonly used in ski resorts nationwide.

"The team at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is deeply saddened by this tragic event and would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends affected," Squaw Valley said in a statement.

Zuiches, who is survived by his wife and infant son, was a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012.

The Joe Zuiches Memorial Fund has been established and is available through Go Fund Me.

Squaw Valley was closed Tuesday, Jan. 24, due to Zuiches' death. CEO Andy Wirth told News 4-Fox 11 later Tuesday that patrol members made the decision to open on Wednesday, Jan. 25, to honor his memory.

"He was well known as being a fella who really stuck to the training, and was a guy never to take any shortcuts -- was very well liked, very popular," Wirth said. "He was a mountain man. He climbed, he led climbs. Really wonderful, good-hearted guy."

No other injuries were reported. The Placer County Sheriff's Office said it is conducting the official death investigation, working with the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and CalOSHA.

This is a developing story. Stay with us for updates.

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