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Earthquake in NZ triggers avalanches
Thursday September 2, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

The earthquake in New Zealand has affected the ski resorts with people woken in the night and dozens of avalanches triggered. No serious damage has been reported. We have reports from skiers in the area who felt it.

The quake, measuring 7.2 on the richter scale, struck in the early hours of the morning when most people were asleep.

Its epicentre was 40km to the west of Christchurch and 5km deep.

There has been damage to buildings in Christchurch but no-one has died.

Two people though were seriously injured by falling masonary and glass.

The country has thousands of minor tremors and quakes each year but this is the biggest one for some considerable time.

The last quake with fatalities was in 1968 when 3 people died.

Felt at Mt HuttFelt at Mt HuttThe ski resort of Mt Hutt, which is 44km away from the epicetre, was without power for a time and safety checks delayed the resort opening for an hour and a half.

At least 12 avalanches were set off.

The earthquake was felt by people in ski resorts as far away as Queentown and Lake Wanaka.

They report being shaken in the their beds by the tremors.

All the ski areas have been checking their lifts and buildings for damaged but, so far, no significant problems have been found.

It is not the same in other parts of the country though, especially Christchurch and its surrounding areas.

"The damages are incredibly frightening. The only thing you can say it's a miracle that no-one lost their life," Prime Minister, John Key, told TV NZ.

PlanetSKI reader, Amanda Pirie, is in New Zealand.  She used to race in the British Team and now works as a race coach.

Pirie woken by quakePirie - woken by quake"I am in Wanaka, about 300km from the epicentre of the earthquake, where many people were woken by the earth moving - it felt a little bit like being on a British train. I jumped out of bed and went outside, but I was the only one in the street, the locals are used to them," says Pirie.

"There was no damage in Wanaka or the nearby ski resorts of Trable Cone, Cardrona and Snowpark. We are travelling to Mount Hutt today, which is very close to the epicentre of the quake, for a race series. Reports from there are that everything in the area is running normally, unlike Christchurch where they have declared a state of disaster, due to a shortage of water, sewage disposal and electricity and many building have had to be evacuated."

We have skied many times with Amanda here at PlanetSKI and she comes highly recommended by us.

The authorities have imposed a night time curfew in Christchurch.  Partly due to the danger of falling masonary and possible aftershocks, but also because there have been numerous incidents of looting.

Raw video footage from Associated Press along with some interviews.

For some video of the damage see this TV report below.


We will bring you more news from the ski resorts of New Zealand when we get it here at PlanetSKI

For the spirit of the mountains


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