updated 3/4/2009 1:55:31 PM ET 2009-03-04T18:55:31

A potent storm dumped as much as 6 feet of snow at higher elevations around Lake Tahoe in California's Sierra Nevada range, shutting down major highways for several hours. A ski area worker was killed by an avalanche.

The California Highway Patrol said Interstate 80, the main link between northern Nevada and California, was closed late Tuesday because whiteout conditions led to multiple spinouts and jackknifed trucks. It was reopened Wednesday morning but the patrol warned travelers to be prepared for slow going and said tire chains or snow tires were required.

U.S. 50 over Echo Summit also was closed early Wednesday for avalanche control but was reopened by midmorning.

I-80 also was shut down Tuesday because of spinouts and jackknifed trucks.

The Sierra Avalanche Center said avalanche danger was high Wednesday on steep terrain in the region.

On Tuesday, an avalanche at the Squaw Valley USA ski resort in the Sierra killed a veteran ski patrol member. Officials said the man was working on avalanche control when he was partially buried by a slide. Another member of the ski patrol dug him out but he later died at a hospital in Reno.

The victim was identified as 41-year-old Andrew Entin, a longtime member of the ski patrol at the resort south of Truckee that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

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