Alpine County rescuers plan to increase the aerial search today for a skier missing in Bear Valley.
Thomas Mullarkey failed to return home on March 14, just before a major storm arrived in the High Sierra.
Alpine County Undersheriff Spencer Case said search and rescue efforts have focused on Bear Valley Resort because there was no evidence Mullarkey skied out of bounds, and the extreme avalanche danger in the surrounding wilderness.
“Search and Rescue personnel have conducted a thorough and methodical search operation during periods of heavy snowfall, white-out conditions, and single-digit temperatures,” Case said.
Sunday was the first day a California Highway Patrol helicopter could fly over the surrounding area.
Alpine is asking the California National Guard to send a helicopter.
They are also seeking a fixed-wing drone equipped with an advanced surveillance package and a fixed-wing aircraft with sensitive infrared capabilities for Monday night.
Mullarkey, 65, was reported missing on Wednesday night after he failed to return to the couple’s cabin in Arnold, California.
Mullarkey’s vehicle was located at Bear Valley Mountain Resort not long after his wife made the 11:30 p.m. report, according to Alpine County Undersheriff Spencer Case.
Because of extreme avalanche danger, searchers could not begin work until day broke on Thursday.
Members of the Calaveras County Search and Rescue, Alpine County Search and Rescue, resort ski patrol, and sheriff’s office personnel resumed the search at first light on Thursday.
But bad weather grounded any help from the air through Saturday as more than 3 feet of snow fell in the resort.
Mullarkey is described as 5-feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes.
“Mr. Mullarkey is known to be an advanced skier and in good health,” Case said. “He is believed to be wearing the same ski suit as depicted in his photo.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Case at 530-694-2231, ext. 357.