Deputies on missing skier: ‘Search has been exhausting’ - KPTV - FOX 12

Deputies on missing skier: ‘Search has been exhausting’

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MOUNT HOOD, OR (KPTV) -

Search and rescue crews have spent nearly 30 hours searching for a skier who went missing Tuesday on Mount Hood, and deputies say the search has been very difficult.

Steve Leavitt, 57 of The Dalles, was reported missing by his family at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday after he did not return from skiing that day. He was last seen around 11:20 a.m. at Mt. Hood Meadows when his ski pass was scanned at Heather Chair Lift.

Pete Hughes with the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said guides from multiple agencies searched into early Wednesday morning, and then again at daybreak.

Crews were given a break overnight Wednesday and are expected to begin searching again Thursday morning.

Current conditions on Mount Hood has made the search exhausting, according to Hughes. He added there are certain parameters crews must take into account during this kind of operation.

“We need to make sure safety conditions are taken care of before we put our searchers out and that requires some daylight to check on the conditions, avalanche conditions specifically,” Hughes said. “Once we do that, we will start expanding our search from where we finished yesterday.”

Teams said they began by searching the most popular ski areas and are now branching out from those areas, but also repentantly going over sections that have previously been covered.

Warmer temperatures caused fluffy powder-like snow to fall since Leavitt’s disappearance, which makes it difficult for crews to find any tracks or traces of him.

The deep snow has can create dangerous tree wells that are up to 12 feet deep, which Hughes said crews cannot check. 

Deputies said Leavitt is an experienced skier. 

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