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Snowboarders survive avalanche near Crow Pass

A trio of backcountry snowboarders is safe after an avalanche caught two of them Friday afternoon along the Crow Pass trail near Girdwood, officials said Saturday.

The group was hiking up the trail when they triggered the avalanche, according to Wendy Wagner, director of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. A preliminary update from the center indicates the group was on a 40-degree slope between the historic mine ruins and the public-use Crow Pass cabin — on Chugach National Forest land — when the slide occurred.

The avalanche, described as a “near miss,” fully buried one person and partially buried another, the center said.

The group successfully rescued themselves after the avalanche and hiked out to the Crow Creek trailhead, Wagner said. The person who was fully buried by the avalanche had minor injuries while the other two weren’t hurt.

The hard slab avalanche was about 50 feet wide with a vertical run of 500 feet, and its crown — at the top of the slide — measured 3 feet deep, the center reported.

The group had broken their own trail, according to a report posted online Saturday by Alaska State Troopers, and said no one else was in the area at the time.

The U.S. Forest Service, Girdwood Fire Department, Alyeska Ski Patrol and Rescue Coordination Center responded to the incident, but the trio was able to hike out before rescue crews arrived, troopers said.