Ski Community Honors Fallen Squaw Valley Ski Patrolman - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Ski Community Honors Fallen Squaw Valley Ski Patrolman

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Squaw Valley reopened on Wednesday, in honor of fallen ski patroller, Joe Zuiches, who died during avalanche mitigation on the mountain on Tuesday. Since the accident, there has been a huge outpouring of support for the man's family.

"It's not just a group of staff members here at this company, it's a family. And we've lost a family member. And we're still grieving," said Andy Wirth, the President and CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

Zuiches was releasing snow with explosives during avalanche control on Tuesday, when a charge detonated and killed him. While loved ones are still mourning his loss, they're celebrating his life on top of the  mountain, spinning the lifts in his honor.

Thousands of people have also been pitching in for a memorial fund for his family. Some giving $10 out of their pockets, others giving as much as $5,000. It only took a day to raise more than $160,000 in support of his wife and infant son.

Go Fund Me Page: https://www.gofundme.com/squaw-patrol-funeral-fund

Many people have been giving their condolences to his family, sharing their fond memories of him.  

Alpine Ascent, his climbing team in Seattle, Washington said, "Joe was known to his fellow guides as a quiet, friendly and reliable hard worker with an obvious passion for life in the mountains."  

People who didn't even know Zuiches are appreciating his life. Ethan French said on Facebook, "I  did not know him, but he is one of many dedicated people that keep us all safe when we are on the mountain enjoying ourselves."

Wirth adds, "Joe was well known as not only a respected patroller, but he was actually a leader, he was actually a mentor to many people on our team, in fact hat's what he was doing yesterday morning when he passed. He was mentoring and training some of the younger patrollers."

Zuiches had several years of professional experience as a climber and ski patroller.

"He was held in very high regard, he was a guy who did not cut corners, he was very focused on safety and that even amplified the tragic nature of this accident," said Wirth.

Zuiches was 42 years old.

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