CLEVELAND (WJW) – A days-long search and rescue mission continues in California for a missing skier with a Northeast Ohio connection.
According to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, 43-year-old Rory Angelotta was reported missing just before 10 p.m. on Christmas after failing to meet up with friends for dinner following a ski run at the Northstar Ski Resort.
“His pass was scanned at 11:30 a.m. going up a lift,” said Sgt. Mike Powers. “We have no other scans after that, an emergency cell phone pinged at 11:25 a.m. so just a few minutes before going up the lift he had a brief call. After that, his cell phone went dead or he turned it off, we’re not sure, and from there the lift goes to pretty much the top of the mountain. He could’ve gone anywhere.”
Angelotta is a 1996 graduate of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. A spokesperson said they are praying for him, his family and rescue crews.
The team trying to locate him have battled dangerous weather conditions, including a winter storm.
“Unfortunately, without any hard information about where he may have went, we’re just kind of shooting in the dark,” said Sgt. Powers. “I mean, we’ve had a high wind with heavy snow which can create incredibly deep snow drifts. White out conditions, wind chill factors, it can be in the negatives at the top of the mountain.”
Sergeant Powers said Angelotta is described as an experienced skier, friendly and outgoing. He works at a ski shop and recently moved to Truckee, California from Colorado in October.
He said Angelotta’s sister recently arrived and family continues to hope for a successful rescue. FOX 8 reached out to his sister but did not hear back as of this publication.
“It’s always good to have hope,” said Sgt. Powers. “Realistically, even well-trained and equipped individuals would be very hard pressed to survive in those conditions.”
Even with experience, the sergeant warns weather conditions can change on the mountain in moments, creating an extremely dangerous environment.
“It might be a fun day skiing down the hill or it might turn into tragedy and sometimes people forget that and how the environment can really be dangerous at the top of the mountain,” said Sgt. Powers. “Really can turn into life and death in a short time.”
Wednesday, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a social media post that crews searched late into the night Tuesday, following up on a tip of fresh tracks in a remote part of the area. However, the tracks belonged to a bear.
Sgt. Powers said crews will continue to search as weather permits and still have thousands of acres to search.