LUCKY TO BE ALIVE
15th August 2019
We have a first hand account from a snowboarder caught in a huge avalanche near the ski resort of Thredbo in Australia.
The man was deep in the back country with his wife.
They are accomplished snowboarders with back country experience and have completed safety courses.
We reported the accident in this news story on PlanetSKI:
The man, who has not been named has given his account and it has been posted in Alpine Access Australia.
“At around 12:30 pm I was buried in at least a class-3 avalanche at Etheridge ridge.
I estimate class 3 as there was more than 1000 tonnes of snow in the slide, perhaps many times that.
My wife and I had already ridden several lines on the face during the morning, performing a hand shear test first up with no signs of instability.
After several runs she decided she’d had enough so I began snowshoeing back up the face for one last line.
I had chosen a small rock-lined ridge line to follow up that was quite firm and wind-scoured and felt like a safe route.
About halfway up there was all of a sudden a thunderous boom and the ENTIRE face top to bottom about 150m-wide began to slide.
It happened in a split second.
I tried to run to who knows where, but was immediately pulled completely under into darkness and immense pressure.
I was tumbled several times with snow pushed hard against my face, but was surprisingly completely calm with the realisation that I was about to be buried and this is how it all ends.
As the motion began to slow the weight of the snow began to bear down and there was an eerie silence and with one last tumble I saw the light and I came to rest completely buried in an upright standing position with just my head and one arm above the surface.
I’m currently sitting at home sipping a scotch with my ankle in a moon boot, season over. But ALIVE, and I’m happy to share this story as it’s important for people to know.”
All images courtesy of Alpine Access Australia.
See here for further details – Alpine Access Australia.
Skiers and snowboarders in Australia are being urged to exercise caution off piste after the heavy snow.
More is set to fall later this week.
“We’ve seen great snowfalls over the past week, which means the snow is not hard-packed and there is an increased risk of avalanche,” said Monaro Police District Commander, Superintendent Paul Condon.
“Even the most capable skiers and snowboarders can get caught out, so please be mindful of changing weather conditions.
“Plan trips according to your capabilities, notify others where you are going, have a communication plan in place in case of emergency and make sure you have plenty of appropriate clothing and equipment.”