Skier From Brainerd In Critical Condition After New Mexico Avalanche
A man from Brainerd is in critical condition after he was pulled from snow that crashed down a mountainside during an avalanche at a New Mexico ski resort. Another man, who was also pulled from the snow, died as a result of his injuries from the incident. Neither victim is being identified at this time.
The avalanche near the highest peak of Taos Ski Valley Ski Resort happened around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, initially spurring fears among authorities that more victims may be buried on the mountain before witnesses told them they had not seen any other people on the slope when the slide began.
Still, a precautionary search of the mountain continued through much of Thursday afternoon to ensure no other people remained trapped, said both Chris Stagg, a spokesman for Taos Ski Valley, and Bobby Lucero, the director for emergency management in Taos County. The two men were pulled from the snow after a roughly 20-minute rescue effort.
The avalanche happened on a stretch of mountain known as the K3 chute, where expert skiers who ride a lift to Kachina Peak can dart down a partially rock-lined run. It was unknown what triggered the avalanche, but the ski resort said an investigation was planned.
Stagg said the accident happened despite the resort taking a series of precautions Thursday morning. They included sending ski patrollers to evaluate conditions and detonate explosives — a measure meant to trigger any potential slide before skiers take to the slopes. The resort also delayed opening the lift to Kachina Peak at the start of the day, Stagg said.
“We had checked that area for avalanche conditions this morning and enacted controls,” he said. “This is a great example that you’re never 100 percent certain.”
The man from Brainerd is currently being treated at University of New Mexico Hospital. The family is requesting prayers at this time.
According to the Taos News, which was first to report on the avalanche, CPR had been given to the two people found beneath the snow.
Taos Ski Valley is located 124 miles (151 kilometers) northeast of Albuquerque.