SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A skier near Vail was making his way down a slope with a friend when the snow slid right out from under them. They survived and captured video of the whole experience.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the video should be another warning of the dangers of avalanches in the backcountry. The avalanche danger is expected to say at a considerable level throughout the weekend.
“There are a lot of people caught in similar avalanches like the one we see in the video that don’t get to walk away from it,” said CAIC Deputy Director Brian Lazar.
The two skiers were caught in the slide March 19 in the Vail/Summit zone. The CAIC said it was a large soft slab avalanche, and that neither of the skiers were injured. The GoPro footage was offered by them.
“It did carry the skier about 1,000 vertical feet. This was a size two on a scale of one to five,” said Lazar.
The CAIC said the skier in the video did two things to reduce his chance of injury and burial in the slide: he kept his feet facing downhill while caught, and had his hands out of the pole straps on the run.
The skier grabbed onto a tree to stop himself as the avalanche continued on around him.
“Anyone who gets caught in an avalanche of that size and you know, walks away from it and walks away from it uninjured is lucky,” said Lazar. “Those types of avalanches are going to remain likely probably through the weekend.”
With all the recent snow, backcountry skiers are reminded to be prepared with the proper equipment and knowledge.
“What we want people to keep in mind is we’re heading into another weekend with similar conditions, incremental snow loading and warning about avalanches in storm snow on steep terrain,” said Lazar.