Snowboarder accused of triggering avalanche speaks out

Snowboarder accused of setting off avalanche ... 02:59

Snowboarder Christian Mares survived what few ski resort guests ever imagine having to face, when he was nearly swallowed up by tons of fast moving snow. Now he's facing an avalanche of criticism and potential prosecution for what officials are calling his "reckless decision."

Mares triggered the avalanche last week while riding with friends at Sugar Bowl Resort, a popular ski destination just northwest of Lake Tahoe.

"We were just trying to go find some freshies somewhere and just go have fun like we usually do. And then I got caught in the avalanche," Mares said.

"The Placer County Sheriff's Office and the DA have chosen to prosecute and to go press charges," said John Monson, director of sales and marketing at Sugar Bowl Resort. "They need to be aware that it's not just, 'Oh I can get away with this.' It has much farther reaching ramifications."

Resort officials say Mares was riding in a closed area of the mountain that was off limits, and the avalanche put other skiers at risk.

"Those closed signs are there for a reason," Monson said. "This is all about safety and us wanting to make sure and ensure that we always keep our skiing public as safe as possible."

"I would never purposely do it -- not because it is illegal, but because it is dangerous," Mares said. "Like I am not trying to go out there and die, like who wants to go out there and be like, 'Hey I am going to go die today on purpose?' That is silly."

The resort said they won't tolerate any action that endangers their guests and staff, but Mares believes the resort officials are just overreacting over another incident on the mountain - the disappearance of 23-year-old ski instructor Carson May last week. Rescue crews were unable to locate May and called the search off for him on Tuesday.

"What happened with Carson is bad publicity for them because he works for them and they cannot find him and now this happened, so they had to protect their a** in order for them not to look bad to the public," Mares said.

There are no official charges against Mares and the investigation is now in the hands of the Placer County Sheriff's Department for trespassing into a closed area of a ski resort.

An official in the district attorney's office told "CBS This Morning" once the investigation is complete, the case will be submitted to their office.