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Missing snowboarder found dead near Lake Tahoe

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • California woman, 25, was found dead near Lake Tahoe on Thursday
  • She was last seen snowboarding with friends at a resort
  • Authorities believe Shawnte Willis succumbed to injuries and the weather

(CNN) -- The body of a missing snowboarder was found Thursday morning near a popular North Lake Tahoe ski resort, according to the Placer County, California, Sheriff's Department.

Shawnte Willis, 25, of nearby Tahoma, California, was last seen Tuesday afternoon snowboarding with friends, according to the resort, Alpine Meadows.

Her body was found about 400 feet from the Pacific Crest Trail in the Granite Chief Wilderness, just off the resort property, by search and rescue team members, authorities said.

A helicopter first spotted Willis' body, authorities said.

Placer County Sheriff's Capt. Jeffrey Ausnow said it appeared Willis succumbed to injuries and the weather, but a final determination will be made by an autopsy.

The body was found in a tree well, an area of loose snow around the trunk of a tree, Ausnow told CNN affiliate KCRA. She may have crashed while snowboarding, he said.

There was no obvious sign of an avalanche in the area. High winds, blinding snow and avalanche danger initially made a search in the area impossible, according to Ausnow.

"Alpine Meadows wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to Shawnte's family and friends," the resort said.