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Authorities recover body of missing skier

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Search and rescue teams in the search for Steve Leavitt at Mt. Hood MeadowsPhoto from last Saturday as teams searched for missing skier Steve Leavitt

Authorities have recovered the body of a missing skier who died after apparently hitting a tree at Mt. Hood Meadows last week.

Early information indicates Steve Leavitt hit a tree on the morning of March 7 and was buried in deep powder that later became compacted by rain, according to a Hood River County Sheriff's Office spokesman. Leavitt was skiing in an area called Jacks Woods, which is rated as extremely difficult.

He ended up in a shallow tree well, said Sgt. Pete Hughes. There's no indication an avalanche contributed to his death, Hughes said.

Leavitt, a 57-year-old resident of The Dalles, last rode the resort's Heather chairlift around 11:20 a.m. on March 7. Searchers found his body late Wednesday afternoon, Hughes said in a news release, and a recovery team got his body off the mountain Thursday morning. 

Hughes said Leavitt's body was at the bottom of Jacks Woods, an in-bounds area dotted with trees that searchers canvassed last week.

Ski patrollers open gates leading to Jacks Woods -- and other similarly difficult and ungroomed areas -- when conditions allow.

Hughes said conditions were good when Leavitt went missing.

Hughes said Leavitt was wearing a helmet but not an avalanche beacon or backpack with overnight supplies. He described Leavitt as an avid skier who knew the area well.

Meadows spokesman Dave Tragethon said Leavitt is a longtime resort pass holder.