Tacoma skier killed at Alpental ski area

A 59-year-old skier from Tacoma plunged several hundred feet to his death yesterday at the Alpental ski area at Snoqualmie Pass.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was skiing alone when he apparently entered a permanently roped-off section on the lower International cliff area, a ski-area spokesman said. He fell from Cliff 3 to the bottom of an open run called Shot 4.

The King County Sheriff's Office said the skier fell 600 to 900 feet and died on impact. John Pretty of the Summit at Snoqualmie, which operates Alpental, said the fall was more like 250 to 300 feet.

Pretty said he doesn't think weather was a factor. It was overcast with light snowfall and intermittent sunshine — typical for this time of year.

The season closes today, and about 300 skiers were at Alpental yesterday, Pretty said.

Another skier found the man's body at about 4:35 p.m. The Sheriff's Office said his body was found shortly after he fell.

Earlier in the season, Joshua Williams, a 16-year-old sophomore at Skyline High School in Sammamish, died when he fell over a 30-foot cliff while snowboarding in an out-of-bounds area at Alpental. Another snowboarder was killed at the ski area in 1999 when he went off a 200-foot cliff in another out-of-bounds area.