GUARDSMAN PASS, Heber Valley — Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to get caught in an avalanche? Yeah, me neither.
If you want to experience it risk-free, however, a local skier’s GoPro captured footage of him being pummeled by an avalanche in Guardsman’s Pass on Saturday. The Utah Avalanche Center released a video of the footage Monday — and it’s kind of as terrifying as it sounds.
The skier tries to “get air” as he jumps off a snow ledge over a bowl, but instead, the snow collapses underneath him and triggers an avalanche. The man tumbles down the mountain, snow flying everywhere as he’s rocked through the “waves of snow.” He slides past trees at 20 or 30 mph, then everything goes white as he’s buried a couple hundred feet from where he started.
Luckily for the skier, he’s only buried a few feet deep, and the tip of his ski is sticking out of the snow. But it’s clear he doesn’t know that quite yet. He begins yelling, “I’m here, here, here!” as his voice becomes more desperate and panic-stricken.
At one point he yells, “That’s my hand!” and his voice begins to grow tired and trail off. He’s only buried for about 70 seconds, though, before you can hear his friends say, “We got you buddy! We got you. We’re right here.” They begin digging him out, and the skier breathes out a relieved “All right.”
According to the Utah Avalanche Center, the group had the right gear to dig the man out, and he was uninjured. Luckily, it’s a happy ending to what could have turned into a more tragic situation. It’s also an important reminder to exercise caution and be prepared — even if you’re an expert skier.
For more tips about what to do if you're caught in an avalanche, check out KSL.com's coverage.