19 December 2014

Backcountry Skier Survives Full Burial in Avalanche


A Turnagain Pass avalanche fully buried a skier Thursday afternoon, according to the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. But in a "remarkable" turn of events, the skier walked away uninjured after digging his head out of the snow, according to avalanche forecaster John Fitzgerald.

The 350-foot-wide avalanche was triggered by the skier and ran downhill an estimated 1,000 feet on the southwest face of Sunburst Ridge, Fitzgerald said. The man's companion, who escaped the avalanche by riding on the outside, helped dig out the buried skier.
An avalanche down Sunburst Ridge in Turnagain Pass on Thursday left one man buried. With the help of a companion, he was able to dig out. Heather Thamm / CNFAIC

 That is one blessed fella!

11 comments:

Cathy said...

" . . . after digging his head out of the snow, "

That's a line that bears further examination ;D

Rev. Paul said...

LOL, Cathy! He was fortunate to have been close enough to the surface that he could create a crater that didn't immediately fill back up with loose snow. :)

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

This guy is very lucky, he must be related to the cat family. 9 lives - 1= 8 lives left.

Rev. Paul said...

Sandy, if he skis the backcountry often, chances are that he's used most of his lives already.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Must not have slid very far if he could uncover his head.

Rev. Paul said...

WSF, other accounts said he was near the top of the slide, so that's almost 1,000 feet. He followed the recommendations and swam his way down the mountainside. This time, it worked; others haven't been so lucky, recently.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

The friction of the sliding snow produces heat. Once the snow stops moving, it freezes solid, almost like concrete. It happens quickly.

The swimming motion is about all that can be done.

Rev. Paul said...

Understood, sir. I was crediting his "swimming" for keeping him at a sufficiently-shallow depth to get his head out. Otherwise ...

joated said...

A lot to be said about keeping your calm and knowing what to do in a crisis.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Sorry if I came across as rude; didn't mean to be.

Rev. Paul said...

joated, absolutely. He did everything right, it seems, and it worked.

WSF, no worries at all, my friend. I didn't take it that way. :)