When Airrick Hix witnessed a lynx casually strolling across a crowded ski run early last week, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“It’s definitely not real,” she can be heard saying in her video of the incredible encounter, which she later shared on Facebook.
San Francisco-resident Jim Russell told The Durango Herald that he was near the base of a run at Colorado’s Purgatory Resort when he saw “some kind of feral cat” emerge from the woods.
Although lynx were once extinct in the state of Colorado, wildlife officials reintroduced the cats to southwestern Colorado’s San Juan mountains in 1999. There are now between 150 and 200 of them scattered throughout the state. The wild cats can also be found throughout most of Canada, but like those in Colorado, they’re known to be relatively elusive.
The skiers and snowboarders at Purgatory Resort were just as awestruck when they spotted this cat strolling across the slope.
“It moved really slowly for being a wild animal with so many skiers and snowboarders, but it seemed to pay them no mind and walked up the hill and through the ski run,” Russel told The Herald. “Within a minute, 50 or 60 skiers had their cameras out.”
For Joe Lewandowski, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, it was encouraging to see that’s all the crowd did.
“People remained calm and stood and watched it, which was great,” he said. “It appears it didn’t feel threatened and was walking very calmly.”
Although Lewandowski agreed it’s strange for a lynx to walk out onto a busy ski run, and in such a relaxed fashion, it’s an easy place for it to cross from one part of its habitat to another. He also reminded reporters that the lynx, which he estimates at around two years old, is wild, “and there’s no predicting what they’ll do from individual to individual.”