BEND, Ore. - A Mt. Bachelor Ski Patrol member triggered an avalanche and was briefly buried in the resulting slide during hazard reduction work in a closed area of the mountain Tuesday morning, resort officials confirmed Wednesday.
The "small avalanche" occurred before the resort's 9 a.m. opening while the ski patrol was on routine daily safety routes on the southeast side of Mt. Bachelor, above the tree line at about the 8,000-foot elevation, Drew Jackson, the resort's director of marketing and communications, told NewsChannel 21.
"The patroller’s partner, another ski patroller intentionally stationed at a safe observing point, witnessed the incident and successfully rescued the affected patroller, who did not suffer any injuries," the resort spokesman said.
"This area, and the Summit chairlift that serves it, was not open to the public" at the time of the avalanche, Jackson added.
Jackson said the ski patrollers "were performing snow safety checks and avalanche hazard reduction work as part their normal morning procedures on the upper mountain."
"Standard protocol also involves working in teams to ensure a speedy response in the event that an incident occurs," he added.
Jackson said in a statement that "Mt. Bachelor’s professional patrol team follows industry-standard safety practices to reduce avalanche risk and reminds all guests to observe all posted signs and warnings and to never enter a closed area."
"The safety of guests and staff is always Mt. Bachelor’s top priority and the resort is grateful to the team of professional and volunteer patrollers who work to make the ski area a safe place for guests to enjoy their experience on the mountain," Jackson's statement concluded.