Nine skiers narrowly escaped injury following an avalanche in the Remarkables backcountry near Queenstown, New Zealand.
Three separate groups were on the mountainside when the slide was triggered, rated a three on a scale of one to five. At one point, up to nine people were missing. Joe O’Connor was caught and carried 330 feet (100m) down the mountain before stopping buried up to his waist. He described the moment of impact when the avalanche hit him as a boom akin to a shotgun going off nearby. His partner was situated slightly to the side, missing the main brunt of the avalanche.
Joe O’Connor commented, “We talked to ski patrol, and they said it should be pretty safe over there, but of course, there is always the danger there, so be cautious.”
The event was witnessed by seasoned alpinists nearby, who swiftly alerted search and rescue teams. The response was rapid, with three helicopters deploying ski patrol teams and dogs to assist the pair. Neither O’Connor nor his mate sustained severe injuries.
The avalanche was 660 feet (200 meters) wide, 2,600 feet (800 meters) long, and 13 feet (four meters) deep by its end.
The Remarkables mountain range, located in the Otago region of New Zealand, is a major attraction for outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. Renowned for their jagged peaks and unique geological formations running directly north to south, these mountains serve as a striking backdrop to the adventure capital of Queenstown. They host one of the most popular ski fields in New Zealand, aptly named The Remarkables Ski Field. Boasting a range of slopes suitable for beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders, this ski field offers a diverse alpine experience with stunning panoramic views over Lake Wakatipu. The region’s high altitude and south-facing aspects ensure consistent snow conditions throughout the winter season.
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Source: Snow Brains