OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A Port Townsend teenager escaped injury after being swept 75 feet downhill by an avalanche at Hurricane Ridge, park officials said Monday.
The teen, who was snowboarding and “body-sliding” with four friends when the slip occurred Sunday on a steep, north-facing slope just north of the Hurricane Ridge parking area, apparently walked away from the scene.
He was gone so quickly, park rangers didn’t get his name, although they learned he was from Port Townsend.
“These snowboarders were extremely lucky to have escaped uninjured,” said Mike Danisiewicz, Hurricane Ridge ranger, of the boy and others on the slope.
“Sunday’s avalanche was significant and could easily have injured or even killed someone.”
Danisiewicz said he was in his office Sunday when a group of snowboarders came in and reported seeing an avalanche come tumbling down the side of a nearby mountain.
When he arrived at the avalanche scene, Danisiewicz encountered another group of teen snowboarders leaving the mountain area.
Some of the youths informed the ranger that one of their friends had been caught in the massive wave of snow but managed to walk away unscathed.
Danisiewicz said Sunday’s incident involved a wind-slab avalanche, about 120 feet wide and 200 feet long.
Such slab avalanches are the most common type caused by skiers and snowboarders, according to park officials.Danisiewicz said Sunday’s Hurricane Ridge slab ranged in depth from 8 inches to 40 inches.