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Ski field avalanche control team triggers massive Mt Ruapehu avalanche

Dramatic footage of an avalanche on Mt Ruapehu earlier this week shows a significant amount sliding down from above the ski area past the lower elevation of the ski resort.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to resort facilities.

The avalanche was triggered after the work by the ski field’s avalanche control team on Thursday morning at Tūroa. The work was managing dangerous snow buildup.

Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa & Tūroa Ski Areas said the avalanche’s magnitude was due to a weak layer in the snow buried underneath the snow pack over a fortnight ago due to ongoing storms.

"The variability of weather patterns on Mt Ruapehu leaves behind a complex buildup of snow deposits and layers," it said in a Facebook statement.

"These avalanches were set off during avalanche control, in areas identified by the snow safety team as areas of weakness.

"When first releasing the avalanche slab was in dry snow and was moving incredibly fast, as it travelled lower it began picking up wetter snow and became the slightly slower, heavier mass you see in this video."

Parts of the ski field were closed earlier in the week.

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The avalanche did not result in any injuries or damage to facilities.