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Snowboarders describe being caught in Breckenridge avalanche

The avalanche rushed in and covered an expert run at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Friday afternoon.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — The three teenagers from North Carolina couldn’t have come to Colorado at a better time. Epic snow totals made for the best snowboarding conditions they’ve ever seen and on their final day, that snow took them for a frightening and unforgettable ride.

“We get off the Imperial Lift and you have to traverse across this ridge to get out to Whales Tale, which is one of the biggest bowls out there,” said Nick Tensi, 19, who reached the center of that bowl to make fresh tracks with his friends Hunter Revis and Grant Shields.

“We were sitting there and kind of had this little piece of snow break off between us and start to slide,” said Shields, explaining that the group was about to drop into the bowl when a chunk of snow broke off between he and Tensi. “I think probably 30 seconds later the whole top of the ridge breaks and starts to slide around us.”

Shields yelled to Tensi, “Avalanche, go!” as the two tried to find their balance after being propelled forward by the mass of moving snow.

“We both started paddling. Trying to swim, essentially,” said Tensi. “You don’t think of anything but like, 'If I don’t get out of this I might be buried and maybe not found.'”

RELATED: No one injured when in-bounds avalanche covers run at Breckenridge Ski Resort

The two say they made it on top of the sliding snow and managed to ride it out, coming to a stop a few seconds later.

Adrenaline pumping, they’d eventually make their way to an office where Breckenridge Ski patrol asked them about where specifically the slide happened. Sure enough, it happened in-bounds in some expert-rated terrain.

“It was the most terrified I’ve ever been. I was fearing for my life the whole time,” said Shields. “It is something we don’t think about as east coasters. It’s just like, ice, ice, ice.”

Without injuries, they made a few more turns and are already looking forward to coming back next season.

“Maybe earlier, but yeah!” laughed Shields.

Breckenridge Ski Resort put out the following statement Friday:

"Breckenridge Ski Resort confirms in-bounds avalanche activity on an expert-rated trail off the Imperial Express SuperChair of the resort. Breckenridge Ski Patrol received a call at approximately 12:25 p.m. and responded immediately. The area was cleared at approximately 1:54 p.m. No guests were injured and the resort continues to investigate the incident.

Breckenridge Ski Resort would like to commend Ski Patrol for their quick, skilled response and are grateful no injuries were sustained.

Breckenridge Ski Patrol regularly performs avalanche control work and mitigation across the resort and has been diligently focused on snow safety efforts, including today’s affected terrain, given this week’s extraordinary snowfall. Resort Ski Patrol continuously monitors snow conditions and weather forecasts, and evaluates terrain to the extent possible as conditions change."

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