Two people have been rescued from an avalanche at a New Mexico ski resort, and a search is underway for others who may be buried beneath the snow.
The avalanche took place near the highest peak of Taos Ski Valley around 11:30 a.m.,
The skiers were rescued by the resort's patrol and bystanders after the snow collapsed and buried them, said Chris Stagg, the resort's vice president for public affairs.
A precautionary search of the mountain continued through much of the afternoon to ensure no other people remained trapped.
The skiers were taken to hospital in Taos and Albuquerque, hospital officials said.
One person is in critical condition at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, said Renee Laughlin, the hospital's nurse, and spokeswoman.
The avalanche happened on a stretch of the mountain known as the K3 chute, where expert skiers who ride a lift to Kachina Peak can dart down a partially rock-lined run. It was unknown what triggered the avalanche, but the ski resort said an investigation was planned.
according to George Brooks, the director of the nonprofit Ski New Mexico avalanches accidents are fairly rare in the state.
Taos Ski Valley had received 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow in the day before the avalanche and 15 inches (38 centimeters) in the week ahead making it one of the best ski seasons in recent years.