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Breckenridge ski run hit by avalanche; no victims reported

Posted at 3:25 PM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-09 00:42:03-05

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — An avalanche at Breckenridge Resort was reported Friday afternoon, according to Charles Pitman with Summit County Search and Rescue.

The inbound slide occurred around 12:39 p.m. on an expert-rated trail off the Imperial Express SuperChair of the resort. Pitman said his team was put on standby but no injuries or victims were reported.

However, two snowboarders in Breckenridge for Spring break told Denver7 they were caught in the slide and had to ride for their lives.

"Out of the corner of my eye, and I could also hear a 'pop,' and I could see the snow that just started coming toward us," said Grant Shields. "At that point, I yelled pretty much as loud as I could: 'It’s an avalanche! Go!'"

He was with his friend Nick Tensi, who said he suddenly felt the snow beneath them moving and the snow above them coming over their shoulders. They both started swimming at first, and then managed to ride on top of the wave.

"The snow underneath us started sliding too, and so we were just sitting down in the snow, like sliding down the mountain on our butts," said Tensi, who said he was only thinking about surviving. "We both just kind of straight-lined it and didn’t turn or carve at all."

Their friend, Hunter Revis, said he was also riding on the side of the avalanche, and saw his two friends in the middle of it.

"I just booked it as fast as I could," said Revis. "And I looked to my left and I could see them on top just floating, like the snow just moving."

A spokesperson for the resort said ski patrol responded immediately and cleared the area around 2 p.m. They have confirmed that no guests were injured.

Friday’s event comes amid "historic" avalanche conditions after extraordinary snowfall in Colorado's high country.

Multiple avalanches throughout the week have shut down ski areas and hampered mountain travel as the massive slides pour onto highways, trapping vehicles.

On Thursday, a 48-year-old male employee of a backcountry skiing company died after being caught in an avalanche in the Jones Pass area of Clear Creek County. He was the seventh person killed by avalanches this season.

There have been at least five avalanches reported in Colorado Friday and 232 since March 1, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Avalanche danger remains very high Friday as more snow is expected to fall in the mountains.