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Avalanche near Treble Cone Ski Area

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/07/2016

A group of skiers have survived an avalanche near Treble Cone Ski Area at Wanaka.

They were in an out-of-bounds area near Treble Cone when they triggered an avalanche in the Hidden Valley area at about 12.30pm on Sunday, the ski area operator says.

It was estimated to be a "size two" avalanche on a scale of one to five, which is large enough to bury a person.

The avalanche was up to half a metre deep in open terrain, and the four people in the group were not caught in it and skied out safely.

They checked the debris and carried out a transceiver sweep, which did not reveal any signals.

The group did not find any evidence of others in the area at the time.

A phone call was received at Treble Cone by a member of the public who saw the party searching the debris and police have been notified.

A helicopter has taken two Treble Cone patrollers along with two search dogs and two handlers to the area to carry out a final search of the debris and the area has been declared clear.

Heavy snow this weekend has raised the avalanche risk at mountains throughout the country.

Treble Cone is the South Island's largest ski area. It has a snow base of 142cm in its home basin and had 22cm of new snow in the last 24 hours, according to the ski area's report on Sunday.

The ski area is open on Sunday.

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