SUGAR BOWL (CBS13) — A man who could face charges for causing an avalanche at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort insists he did nothing wrong, though the sheriff's department disagrees.
Christian Mares' helmet camera was rolling as a mass of snow pulled him downhill for almost a minute, burying the 29-year-old pro skier in snow.
The video went viral, but what Mares didn't expect was for his survival skills to catch the attention of resort owners and law enforcement.
"I put myself in danger, I didn't put anyone else around there," he said.
He says he didn't have time to think about what happened, but when he got up, he says he was glad he wasn't dead.
"I laughed about it, learned that lesson," he said.
But the lesson was far from over. The next thing Mares know, he was making headlines around the world for facing prosecution.
"I'm just kind of flabbergasted, and all the comments—whatever people can think what they want," he said.
Resort officials say Mares went into a closed avalanche area that's been off limits for years, though he says helmet video shows no closed signs except for one, and he says he went the other way.
Placer County Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Hunt save the video tells a different story.
"Well, when you have it on video and it's being shown all over the internet. it creates an invitation for those who would like to go up and do the same thing," he said.
Hunt says the timing of the incident is unfortunate. The video was recorded on Jan. 15, the same day that ski instructor Carson May went missing. The search was called off on Tuesday.
Mares says he wasn't aware of May's disappearance.
He says he did what any pro snowboard would do in good conditions—take calculated risks.
"If they want to slap some cuffs on me bring me to jail for a couple days woop-dee-doo," he said.
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