ON SATURDAY, December 11, 2021, an avalanche occured at the Crystal Mountain ski resort in Washington state.
Five skiers were rescued, while a sixth person reportedly did not survive.
Was there an avalanche at Crystal Mountain?
At around 10.50am local time, witnesses called ski patrol with a report that a group of six people were buried by an avalanche in a backcountry area of Crystal Mountain.
The skier who died was a 60-year-old man whose identity has not yet been released.
At the time of the avalanche, all six skiers were reportedly wearing emergency beacons.
According to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Crystal Mountain is maintaining normal operations, as the incident occurred in backcountry.
Sgt. Darren Moss noted that those who survived the avalanche took place in a self rescue, yet it wasn't immediately made clear whether or not those buried actually rescued themselves or if witnesses helped out.
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What is an avalanche?
An avalanche is a large quantity of snow, rock, ice, or soil that falls down a sloped surface, typically a mountain.
Oftentimes referred to as snow slides, an avalanche can occur from natural forces – such as wind or rapid temperature changes – or human activity.
When stress from the pull of gravity or an applied load – such as a skier or snowboarder – outweighs the snow cover, an avalanche may be triggered.
Most avalanches occur in backcountry, outside of the boundaries of a developed ski or snowboarding area.
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