Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol had been doing avalanche mitigation work about 10:15 a.m. in a closed area of the resort when an avalanche was released and traveled to areas open to the public, a statement from Mammoth Mountain said.
Three people, including a Mammoth Mountain employee, were partially buried but were able to free themselves without injury, the statement said.
Kind of scary - this is #MammothMountain Chair 5 from Chair 10 / Goldrush at 10:10am, only 5 minutes before the #avalanche You can hear us planning on lapping the chair when it opens & see a snowboarder nearly buried showing just how deep the snow was @abc7 @NBCLA @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/7zO5cQGrvR— Ryan Kyle Williams (@RyanKyleWill) March 3, 2018
A search and rescue operation using dogs and transceiver detectors was launched "within minutes," the statement said, but no one else was found buried.
Ski Patrol continued to search the area Saturday afternoon, and resort representatives asked anyone with missing friends or family to call (760) 934-0611, adding that they would remain closed all day Saturday "to focus all efforts on the site."
Local police described the event as a "major avalanche" and asked people to steer clear of the area Saturday morning.
In their statement, Mammoth Mountain representatives said they expected to return to normal operations Sunday.