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Woman and son die after being buried in snow near their Northern California condo

A woman and her 7-year-old son died after being buried under snow just feet from their front door in what Northern California authorities are calling a “freak accident.”

The Alpine County Sheriff’s Department said that Olga Perkovic, 50, of San Francisco and son, Aaron Goodstein, had been skiing in Kirkwood, which is in the Sierra Nevada. They were returning home from the slopes Sunday when a chunk of snow about the size of a trailer fell from the roof of their vacation condo, burying them under about 3 feet of snow.

“It was a freak accident,” Undersheriff Spencer Pace said. Warming temperatures often cause large chunks of snow to slide off roofs, occasionally injuring people. But he said neither he nor the sheriff can recall sliding snow killing anyone in the three decades they’ve been there.

Pace said Perkovic’s mother, who was staying in the condo with the family of five, reported the pair missing about 6:40 p.m. Sunday.

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Rescuers searched the nearby Kirkwood Ski Resort for hours because the pair’s last known location was a ski lift where they scanned their tickets about 4 p.m. Sunday.

Pace said it appears the two skied an “alternate” route home from the slopes that took them between buildings on a path that is unpaved in the summer.

About 9 p.m., a neighbor spotted ski gloves next to the condo, realized they were buried beneath the snow and called 911.

The mother and son were airlifted to a hospital, where they were declared dead, Pace said.

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They were the third and fourth persons to die at California ski resorts since a major snowstorm late last week.

The region’s largest storm of the winter season dumped more than 6 feet of snow over the last week, according to the Kirkwood ski resort, which is about 180 miles east of San Francisco.

Kirkwood officials didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Avalanches also briefly closed Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain in recent days.

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