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No one hurt in snow slide at Holiday Valley

The Wall came crumblin', tumblin' down Saturday afternoon at Holiday Valley ski resort in Ellicottville.

An avalanche of snow slid an estimated 200 feet down the resort's steepest slope, surprising several skiers hovering above in a chairlift.

The slope, a double black diamond (advanced) nicknamed "The Wall," was not open at the time and no one was injured.

"We're very thankful nothing bad happened, there's no injury, there's no damage," said Jane Eshbaugh, spokeswoman for Holiday Valley.

The slide occurred at about 2 p.m. and lasted just a few seconds, she said.

"There was a wall of snow about 10 feet, 15 feet high that cracked to the ground," Eshbaugh said. "The very steepest part is what cracked, and it slid to where it's not as steep." Holiday Valley was enjoying one of the busiest days of what has been a slow ski season, with thousands hitting the slopes Saturday.

The hill was searched following the slide to make sure no one was hurt.

The resort had made a large amount of snow for The Wall on Friday and Saturday and was allowing the snow to sit for a few days before grooming the slope for skiing, Eshbaugh said.

The warmer weather on Saturday, on the heels of two frigid days, might have made the new snow unstable, causing the crack and slide, she added.

With a 38-degree drop, The Wall is among the most challenging of the 53 runs at Holiday Valley. It has experienced slides in the past, usually at night when no one is around, Eshbaugh said.

Ski resort staff were busy Saturday pushing the snow back up the hill and making new snow again. It should be ready to ski, safely, by the middle of the week, she said.

"Once we groom it out, it's not unstable," she said.


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