This is one of the freakiest videos I’ve ever seen. Because of the point-of-view nature of the helmet cam, when I hit “play” I go from merely watching to living one of my worst nightmares: getting swept hundreds of feet downhill and buried in an avalanche.
The nightmare worsens, as you listen to the poor bastard wheezing, trying to breathe. I hear him thinking, “This is it, I’m F-ing dead,” because I’m thinking it.
The minutes stretch on. His wheezing accelerates. He gulps the snow out of his mouth, shaking the camera.
After what feels like forever, his transponder beeps. Muffled voices come through the snow and shadows cross in front of the camera. Soon a shovel breaks through the snow revealing blue sky and his goggled buddies digging frantically.
Of the rescue, Chappy, the friend of the skier who posted the video, says,
“And then the digging out is utterly amazing. I don’t think that you could’ve paid a Hollywood crew to stage something better. The fact that he could’ve been facing any 360 direction and yet he’s looking right up into the sun-filled blue sky with that first full scoop away of the shovel is borderline spiritual.”
Of course, this video is a visceral cautionary tale about being prepared for the worst, getting the right training, and making sure, to the best of your ability, of the snow conditions before ripping a huge rooster-tail on fresh pow. Chappy also says,
“Respect Mother Nature for sure. Learn from this. But just like a Craig Kelly in the snowboard world or a Shane McConkey in the ski world who died out in the backcountry, they left this earth while doing the things that they were truly passionate about. And while they would stress the need for the proper gear and training….neither one would want backcountry enthusiasts to curtail their adventures because of their accidents….or this video.”
Video by Chappy.