Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak in Taos

Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak in Taos

TSV: Two skiers extracted, ‘no additional victims’

From Taos News

Two skiers were critically injured in an avalanche on Thursday (Jan. 17) near Kachina Peak, the highest point at Taos Ski Valley ski resort.

According to a press release from the resort, an “inbounds avalanche” occurred in chute three on Kachina Peak just before noon, burying two men, who have not yet been identified.

Rescuers searching the snow extracted the men just before 1 p.m. and performed CPR on them before rushing them to the base of the resort.

Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.
Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.

According to a report heard on Taos Central Dispatch before 3 p.m., a medic transporting one of the men in an ambulance to Holy Cross Hospital in Taos said she had “one male trauma patient,” for whom she had established an IV and an intubator, a medical device that helps a person breath when they are unconscious.

Taos County Emergency Services Chief Chris Medina said the other man was also in critical condition and was being flown by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

According to a press release from the ski resort, the search for others who might have been buried was called off after 2 p.m., when rescuers determined there to be “no additional victims.”

During the search, dozens of rescuers and volunteers used avalanche probes, shovels and the help of rescue dogs to search the area under the peak for anyone else who might have also been swept under in the slide, Stagg said.

According to Taos News photographer Morgan Timms, who was at the scene of the accident on Thursday, the snow from the avalanche was so deep that the probes, which are as long as 30 feet, could not reach the bottom of the snowpack.

A woman at the scene of the rescue effort who spoke with Timms on the condition of anonymity said she could see – and hear – the moment of the collapse.

“I see two people trying to come down and a third person on the left. They were really good skiers it looked like,” she said and then directed Timms attention to a point near the top of the steep run. “I turned my back to put my bindings on … and then I heard a sound. It sounded like an earthquake coming.”

The witness said a cloud of snow rushed down the run, but she couldn’t see how many people were buried once it settled.

Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.
Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.

Medics of Taos Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the ski resort on Thursday to provide assistance in the rescue.

The Kachina Peak Ski Valley lift, which provides easy access to expert terrain at the top of the mountain, opened on Jan. 15. It was built in 2015, providing access to sections of the mountain which were previously only accessible on foot.

Chris Stagg, vice president of public relations at the resort, said members of the Taos ski patrol team had detonated explosives in the area of Kachina Peak early Thursday morning in an effort to reduce the risk of an avalanche.

Taos News

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Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.
Taos Avalanche Dogs. Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.

You can start thinking about your trip, by reading the articles on the Planning your Ski Trip tab.  Or how to pack for your family ski trip.  If taking your furry friend abroad to the continent, read about the new Pet Travel Scheme update from DEFRA. Check out our tips for driving to the mountains.  If flying and renting a car in Europe, beware of the extra charges they will pass to you if you want winter tyres, snow chains or ski racks. If driving, check the winter tyres news for Europe and North America.

Or you can read our last news on equipment as seen at the London Ski Show. Also, the new range of skis of Black Crows, one of our favourite brands. Lots of snow makes you wonder how the resorts deal with the avalanche danger. Here you can read the interview to Coco Torres, former Head of Operations of Las Leñas, in Argentina, as how they dealt with avalanches at the resort. 

Or perhaps you may choose to read the Ski Resort NewsSki Passes News, and the Must-Read Guides to Lech,  Zermatt,  CourmayeurVal di Fiemme and Crans-Montana. Coming soon will be the guide to St Anton. Or  watch an amazing heli flight over the Mont Blanc Massif. Also see tips on how not to be scammed when booking a ski chalet.

You can also read what’s new at Les Trois Vallées and the last article on what is new at the Tirol ski areas,  in Cervinia, in La Plagne, in 3 Zinnen Dolomites ,  in Adelboden, Lenk and Kandertal, in Gstaad, in Chamonix,  in Georgia’s Gudauri Resort and in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. And how the US Ski Team has chosen Alpe Cimbra to train for the following four ski seasons as their European home.  Here is the link to our post on the My Voucher Codes ranking of best European Ski Resorts.  

Crested Butte will have a new chairlift to replace Teocalli lift for the 2019/20 ski season. Jay Peak is officially for sale.

You can plan where to eat in Aspen Snowmass or which events to attend on-mountain while there.  And Cortina D’Ampezzo is getting ready for this winter and the 2021 World Ski Championships.  

Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.
Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.

Another classic resort, such as St Moritz has been in the news for its famous Cresta Run be opened again for women after a 89 years ban.

Also, you can read how Grandvalira will be staying together as one lift ticket company and how they are adding Ordino Arcalis to  this offer. Grandvalira is opening now all of its six sectors.  And also read how someone tried to sabotage some lifts in Vallnord’s Pal Arinsal. And as if it is starting to be a trend, there were two lifts sabotaged in Passo Rolle, in Val di Fiemme, Trentino. Fortunately they were repaired in record time to open to the public.  Also, Mt Hood Meadows was forced to evacuate one lift with 150 skiers and boarders due to a power failure. And the same was the case in a lift with 140 skiers/boarders in Whitefish, Montana.  Or read about the latest investments in Whistler Blackcomb. Or see how Taos is going against the industry trend, and instead of merging with the two biggest oligopolies in skiing at the moment, it goes and buys an airline to get more bums in resort. Or how Jackson Hole is appealing to families and beginners – it is not only a resort for expert skiers anymore. Another great area for families is Stubaital in the Tirol. And a new coming ski area that got funding for its first lift is Skeetawk in Alaska.  Courmayeur is opening this season two new trails, one that is 70% steep – not for the faint-hearted! Or read how a group of experienced industry insiders got together to purchase Tamarack Resort. And how Peak Resorts finalised the acquisition of the resorts of Snow Time. You can also check how Vermont’s ski passes are the most expensive in New England. And talking about Vermont, you can read on how Killington is planning to change its North Ridge triple chair with a fixed-gripped quad.

Also read how one employee of Aspen Ski Co got caught in an avalanche but got out unscathed while scouting terrain for the Aspen Mountain Powder Tours. Or how the a gondola of the new American Eagle lift from Copper Mountain crashed into the snow in a trial run. The resort confirmed that the chondola will be fixed before it’s opening day. Plus this week, some gondolas got tangled in Hochzillertal. And there was a gas explosion at the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof that injured six, before its opening date.

Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.
Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.

You can keep up to date on how are the sales for the EPIC and IKON passes are doing here. Read how Emma, the first Digital Mountain Assistant, is launched in Keystone now and will be rolled to eight other resorts this season. And even read about the new incorporation to the IKON Pass: Valle Nevado. Here is also a post on the South American resorts.  

Also, Rob Katz and his wife Elana Amsterdam donated 2 million USD in grants to support mental and behavioural health programs in ski towns of North America. And see how Aspen Skiing Company released its sustainability report 2018. 

And here is a summary of a report by LISTEX on the State of the UK Snowsports Market.

And what Switzerland could look by 2060 due to climate change.

Or check out how now with the EPIC Pass you can ski in Europe, specifically in Les Trois Vallées and the resorts of Skirama Dolomiti in Trentino’s Italy. Or see our review of L’Héliopic Hotel Sweet & Spa if thinking in staying in Chamonix this winter.

You may want to read the interview we made last year to Coco Torres, former Head of Operations at Valle de Las Leñas on how to control avalanches in this high -prone avalanche area.

We have already covered many news due to this latest spat of snow storms in Europe, as the hotel that was hit by an avalanche of 300 meters of width in Eastern Switzerland. And two ski patrollers got killed setting avalanche control charges in the French resort of Morillon in the Grand Massif.

Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.
Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak. Kachina Peak Avy Control

Recently a British skier was killed after suffering a cardiac arrest on a chairlift falling 32 feet to the ground in Méribel resort in Les Trois Vallées. You can see our recent article on how avalanches claimed two lives in Switzerland the past week. And read more what is the real risk of avalanchesThree Germans have been killed by an avalanche near Lech and a fourth is missing.

Featured Image: Photo: Taos Ski Resort. Avalanche buries two near Kachina Peak.

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