A male skier is dead, while another is hospitalized with injuries deemed critical after an inbounds avalanche at Taos Ski Valley, off of famed Kachina Peak. According to the Taos News, the slide took place off of chute three right before 12 p.m. on Thursday, January 17, burying the two men. The duo was extracted from the debris near the 1 o’clock hour. One man was transported to the resort base and rushed to Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, where he died Thursday evening. The other was flown by helicopter to New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where he remains in critical condition.
While the deceased’s name has not been released, Taos County Emergency Services Chief Chris Medina did confirm that he was from out-of-state. Taos News photographer Morgan Timms described the slide debris as so deep that folks probing the area could not reach the bottom.
The Taos ski patrol had performed explosive avalanche mitigation in the area Thursday morning to help relieve stress on the snowpack, according to Vice President of Public Relations for Taos Ski Valley, Chris Stagg. While the resort only reported two inches of fresh snow overnight, the southern Sangre de Cristo range did receive significant snowfall beginning at the start of the New Year. The Kachina Peak lift opened for the first time this season on Tuesday.
The terrain off of Kachina Peak was hike-to up until the building of a lift that accessed the summit in 2015. Much of the skiing off of the peak is steep and rocky.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
For a full report, please visit the Taos News.