Rory Angelotta, a 43-year-old northern California man, went missing while skiing on Christmas day, according to authorities

Angelotta told friends he was hitting the slopes near Lake Tahoe Saturday morning before joining them for Christmas dinner, but was reported missing when he never showed up.

His last known location was at the Northstar Ski Resort in Truckee just before noon. Police and rescue teams combed the Northstar area late into the evening Sunday, but were forced to halt the search due to heavy snowfall, low visibility and frigid temperatures. 

With more snowfall expected to complicate rescue efforts in coming days, the clock is ticking. 

What Happened to Rory Angelotta? 

Angelotta, an experienced skier and recent transplant to the Sierra Nevada region, told friends he’d be on the slopes before arriving for dinner on Christmas day. 

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said the 43-year-old was still at Northstar Ski Resort as late as 11:30 a.m., when his pass was scanned at the Comstock lift. It was the last time Angelotta went up the mountain, according to the resort’s records. 

Shortly before that, authorities said, cell records show he made a brief phone call from the resort at around 11:25 a.m., just before boarding the lift for the final time. Inexplicably, officials believe Angelotta’s phone was turned off just after the call ended. 

What happened to Rory Angelotta. NorCal man and experienced skier went missing on the slopes Christmas day.
What happened to Rory Angelotta. NorCal man and experienced skier went missing on the slopes Christmas day. Photo credit: Placer County Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff’s office said his friends officially reported his disappearance at around 10 p.m. Saturday night — almost a full 12 hours after he fell off the grid. 

Authorities began the search at Northstar, where Angelotta’s car was quickly found in the parking lot. Rescue teams began to fan comb the mountain for signs of the missing 43-year-old the next day, but severe winter weather slowed their efforts considerably. 

Amid heavy snowfall, strong winds and freezing temperatures, teams were forced to pause the search on Sunday evening. They resumed their mission Monday morning, but again in whiteout conditions, according to reports. 

Avalanche warnings are slowing the search for Rory Angelotta. Rescue teams are trying to figure out what happened to the skier, last seen Christmas day.
Avalanche warnings are slowing the search for Rory Angelotta. Rescue teams are trying to figure out what happened to the skier, last seen Christmas day. Photo credit: Placer County Sheriff’s Office

Avalanche Threat Slows Search

The Sierra Nevada office of the U.S. Forest Service has said that “large natural avalanches and human-triggered avalanches are expected” around Northstar Ski Resort through Tuesday. 

The threat of a snowslide is preventing rescuers from performing a comprehensive search, limiting their efforts to the well-trafficked areas and the edges of forested areas. Meanwhile, Angelotta could be deeper into the mountain, unaware that rescue teams won’t find him there. 

“The hope is that if the weather clears up today, searchers will be able to get to more of the remote areas he may have gone,” said Mike Powers, a Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson. 

Surefoot Skiing store in Northstar, where Rory Angelotta works as a manager, signal boosted the search in an Instagram post Monday. 

Rory Angelotta moved to the Truckee area in October, police say.
Rory Angelotta moved to the Truckee area in October, police say. He works at a Northstar ski shop and is an experienced skier. Photo credit: Shutterstock

“He is an experienced backcountry skier and we are hopeful that he has been able to hunker down and stay warm,” the shop wrote. “Please keep Rory in your thoughts. We are praying for his safe return.” 

The missing skier has been described as “very friendly and outgoing,” according to authorities. He moved to northern California from Colorado in October, reports indicate. 

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said the 43-year-old was last spotted wearing a navy blue Fly Low jacket, blue helmet, and black goggles.

Anyone with information on what happened to Angelotta is asked to call (530) 886-5375.