Family Goes Skiing + Gets Caught in Avalanche Near Vail Pass
A family went backcountry skiing last week and ended up caught in an avalanche near Vail Pass. One skier was buried underneath the snow but thankfully is okay.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, a family of three was involved in an avalanche on November 28 at 12,000 feet high. The two parents and their teenage kid were near Janet's Cabin when the incident occurred, which is a background hut near Vail Pass.
One of the family members climbed a small but steep slope to check skiing conditions, and that's when he saw the slope fracture about 30 feet above him. He yelled 'slide!' and the avalanche caught him and swept him off his feet, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The skier punched his arm into the air as high as he possibly could. Whenever the avalanched stopped, you could only see his elbow to his hand and the rest of him was buried. He was able to uncover his face so he could get the snow out of his airway, but wasn't able to move the rest of his body and said the snow felt like concrete.
The other family members had avalanche gear on hand and immediately started assembling their probe and shovel. They quickly found their family member buried under the snow because they saw their hand sticking out. I can't imagine not being able to move anything but your hand and having to wait for someone to save.
The avalanche happened because of a combination of wind-blown dense slabs of snow resting above weaker snow. And although the family didn't need any assistance (other than some help from each other) they still shared the incident with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The family hopes that this will help others avoid a similar situation.