GRANBY, Colo. (CBS4) – Education — that’s’ the only reason one Colorado snowmobiler says he’s alive after being caught in an avalanche in Grand County over the weekend.

Brian Vossen says his experience is proof everyone who enjoys the mountains should take an avalanche class.

The avalanche the Brian Vossen survived (credit: CBS)

The avalanche the Brian Vossen survived (credit: CBS)

“It was Sunday, we’d been riding all day. We were between Granby and Grand Lake,” Vossen said.

Vossen had climbed dozens of slopes on his snowmobile.

“I actually never saw the cracks in front of me. I was looking probably 50 yards up and to the right, so by the time that I noticed it in front of me it was too late,” Vossen said. “It actually hit me sideways, so it forced me off, and then from the avalanche training course that I went through this fall … at that point I just remember him saying, ‘Do whatever you can to stay above the snowline.’ “

Vossen actually ran a few steps on top of the snow.

“To not get buried even an inch and to be able to stay on top,” Vossen said. “Just ‘wow.’ Not much else you can say but it was pretty intense, definitely intense.”

Vossen has been snowmobiling for years, but he didn’t get serious about his safety until taking a free class at Power World, a snowmobile shop in Granby.

“I would have had no idea how to react in that situation without going through that course,” he said. “Every single hill that we had climbed that whole afternoon we got together and made a plan before we attacked it. And some of the hills we said, ‘No that’s too dangerous.’ ”

Vossen says he’ll keep taking avalanche classes and urges anyone who heads into the forest in the winter to take one as well. He also bought an avalanche beacon.

“Actually, I just got it a few months ago after that avalanche training course,” he said. “This one was about $300.”

He said the purchase was well worth the money and he has more equipment is on the way.

“I already ordered an avalanche air bag. I will not ride without one.”

LINKS: Colorado Avalanche Information Center | Power World


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