Snowbound California guests freed after 5 days at lodge

This Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 photo from video by Joel Keeler shows people approaching the showed-in Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. More than 120 visitors and staff who became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed. The U.S. Forest Service says snow trapped the guests and staff at the lodge starting Sunday following a storm. They couldn't get out until Thursday night, Feb. 7, 2019. (Joel Keeler via AP)
This Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 photo from video by Joel Keeler shows vehicles buried in the parking lot of the snowed-in Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. More than 120 visitors and staff who became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed. The U.S. Forest Service says snow trapped the guests and staff at the lodge starting Sunday following a storm. They couldn't get out until Thursday night, Feb. 7, 2019. (Joel Keeler via AP)
This Wednesday,, Feb. 6, 2019 photo from video by Joel Keeler shows a "chains required' sign on the road leading to the showed-in Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. More than 120 visitors and staff who became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed. The U.S. Forest Service says snow trapped the guests and staff at the lodge starting Sunday following a storm. They couldn't get out until Thursday night, Feb. 7, 2019. (Joel Keeler via AP)
This Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 photo from video by Joel Keeler shows snow up to the window sills of the showed-in Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. More than 120 visitors and staff who became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed. The U.S. Forest Service says snow trapped the guests and staff at the lodge starting Sunday following a storm. They couldn't get out until Thursday night, Feb. 7, 2019. (Joel Keeler via AP)
This Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 photo from video by Joel Keeler shows vehicles driving through canyons plowed through snow drifts that overshadow them at snowed-in Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. More than 120 visitors and staff who became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed. The U.S. Forest Service says snow trapped the guests and staff at the lodge starting Sunday following a storm. They couldn't get out until Thursday night, Feb. 7, 2019. (Joel Keeler via AP)
This Wednesday,, Feb. 6, 2019 photo from video by Joel Keeler shows people attempting to clear cars buried in the parking lot of the showed-in Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. More than 120 visitors and staff who became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed. The U.S. Forest Service says snow trapped the guests and staff at the lodge starting Sunday following a storm. They couldn't get out until Thursday night, Feb. 7, 2019. (Joel Keeler via AP)

LOS ANGELES — More than 120 visitors and staff who were snowbound in a Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed, authorities said Friday.

Up to 7 feet (2 meters) of snow trapped the guests and staff at Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Sequoia National Forest starting Sunday following a storm, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Alicia Embrey said.

Crews had to travel by snowmobile to get to the lodge in the mountains east of Fresno on Wednesday morning, when they ensured everyone was safe. They returned Thursday with additional supplies, she said.

Heavy equipment and crews then cleared more than 20 fallen trees and 8 miles (13 kilometers) of deep snow on the road leading to the lodge to allow guests and staff to finally leave the property on Thursday night.

Though some got bored during the snow-in, Embrey said the lodge had enough food, fuel and general supplies to keep everyone comfortable.

"Physically they were fine," Embrey said. "They were obviously happy to go home."

Joel Keeler posted several videos of his experience at the lodge on Twitter starting Tuesday, when the snow was still coming down and guests learned they still weren't going to be able to leave.

The next day, he posted: "It's cold, clear and beautiful, but we're still snowed in!"

"They are working hard to clear the road ... Still a lot of driveway left tho!" he wrote.

On Thursday, he posted that guests were finally going to go home, sharing video of the cleared roadway and a caravan of dozens of snow-capped vehicles snaking their way out next to towering snowbanks.

The snow that trapped the guests began falling Friday, blanketing the area with between 4 to 7 feet (1 to 2 meters) by Saturday night, Embrey said, adding that roads to the lodge were closed by Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, another winter storm is on the way to the region.

Meteorologists issued a winter storm warning for the southern Sierra Nevada starting Friday afternoon, predicting more snow, high winds and potentially hazardous conditions including falling trees and slick roads.

The Forest Service urged visitors to travel with extreme caution.

"The most recent storm has left very little room to maneuver and nowhere to put new snow," Ned Kelleher, chief ranger for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, said in a statement.

He added: "The trees are snow and ice laden and the accumulating new snow will cause failures."

___

Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP

People also read these

2 injured, fire contained on docked Tahoe paddle...

Aug 17, 2016

Fire ripped through the second deck of a docked tourist cruise boat under repair at Lake Tahoe on...

Explorers find 2nd-oldest confirmed shipwreck in...

Aug 17, 2016

A team of underwater explorers says it has found the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great...

UK critics fall for 'Groundhog Day' musical, over...

Aug 17, 2016

A musical based on "Groundhog Day," the 1993 movie about a jaded weatherman forced to live the same...

Officials: Zika found in South Beach; spraying...

Aug 19, 2016

Florida officials say South Beach has been identified as a second site of Zika transmission by...

Popular Yellowstone River closes after thousands...

Aug 19, 2016

Montana is indefinitely closing a 183-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com