A huge avalanche barrelled down Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand earlier this week after it was triggered by avalanche control. Big snowfall in New Zealand has lead to dangerous conditions requiring mitigation work. Nobody was caught or injured.
Staff at Mt Ruapehu’s Whakapapa and Tūroa ski fields used explosives in areas identified by the snow safety team as areas of weakness. Mt Ruapehu general manager safety and environment Andy Hoyle says they show the importance of avalanche control work.
“As part of our process of looking after our people, customers and resources, we are duty and morally bound to actively manage these hazards as soon as we practicably can. We know that if we left these avalanche hazards uncontrolled, they could occur naturally in the right conditions, threatening personnel and infrastructure.”
This created a “significant” class 5 avalanche, followed by a second one hours later, temporarily closing Tūroa. Video of one of the triggered avalanches shows the massive wall of snow tearing downhill.
A social media post from the resort said:
Kia ora everyone, the avalanche work undertaken today at Tūroa shows why we take the time to get up on the slopes and make it safe. Two avalanches were set off this morning, flowing through the ski area boundary and out the other side, leaving debris and a significant track in its place. These were controlled events and saw us remain closed for the morning.
Now the attention has turned to getting the slopes ready, with a number of tasks still to do on the mountain. Here’s Bendy and Dingo to let you know what has been happening here at Tūroa.