7.4-magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand, widespread damage reported

Posted By: The Ski Channel on September 3, 2010 11:28 am

A massive 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island at 4:35 a.m local time (10:35 a.m. Friday PT) on Saturday. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the epicenter was 20 miles northwest of Christchurch, New Zealand’s third-largest city.

Authorities reported widespread property damage and power outages across the city, but said so far only minor injuries were being reported.

Many skiers and snowboarders, who are currently training at the various New Zealand ski resorts, reported first-hand accounts of their quake experience. Although ski hubs of Queenstown and Wanaka are about 300 miles from Christchurch, the tremors could easily be felt by the athletes.

Swedish freeskier and racer Jon Olsson, who has made Queenstown his summer home, immediately took to his blog and wrote:

“Down here I guess it was far from as bad as it was in Christchurch but it was still enough to wake me up, felt like I was on a sweet massage bed! Super weird but pretty cool feeling!

Either way I think we are all good here in Queenstown so I am about to head up to the mountain.”

Other skiers didn’t seem to fair as well as Canadian Ski Halfpipe Coach, Trennon Paynter reported on his Twitter the “earthquake double bounced me out of bed” and was concerned over whether the halfpipe would be in the same place on the mountain.

Elsewhere, world record holder Simon Dumont was also awoken from his slumber by the quake. “Earthquake shook me awake.. What a crazy thing to wake up to,” tweeted Dumont.

Stay tuned for updates.