Originally, I wasn’t going to use the first clip in this edit. It wasn’t til I talked to [Dave] Mossop and JP [Auclair] about getting caught in the slide that I changed my mind, and decided that I should show the footage. Seems to me a lot of the time avi’s get almost glorified in movies, edits, etc, and some people seem to lose sight of the fact of how dangerous it can be to get caught in an avalanche. It’s also hard for someone that has never been caught to comprehend how fast a situation can change and turn a sick run into what could be your last.
In regards to the slide, we had been out in that zone the day before, so I was familiar with the stability and snowpack. We picked a north/north east facing aspect that me and my friend Kye [Petersen] felt good about, and did two test runs. He dropped in first, and the snow was solid. I skied my line, and ski cut the top as I was dropping in, and the snow was solid. We then moved toward two lines that were over exposure. Before we skied our lines, we dropped a cornice on a hanging snowfield above Kye’s line. He then ski cut the top and skied his line without any issue. I worked my way over to the entrance into my route—which was about 50-feet skier’s right of his line. Feeling fairly confident after watching him ski, not to mention feeling good about the precautions we took that day, I dropped into my line. The rest, as you can see, was fairly intense.
I made a last second decision to point it, because I knew I needed to stay on my feet, or get pulled over the exposure below me. As I hit the funnel and went into the white room, I was thinking, “I don’t know if I am going to make it out of this.”
I was carried for what felt like a ways, and got pushed down to the bed surface. When I felt the weight of the snow pushing me down, I deployed my airbag. As things came to a slow, I was propelled towards the top, and managed to pull myself out of the debris.
Looking back, I had mixed feelings for a while. I mean, after skiing in the backcountry and doing beacon drills with my dad since I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, it makes you feel almost stupid for getting yourself in that situation. But then again, you never know when, or if things are going to go wrong.
Now, as I reflect, I feel like we were being smart and safe. It just goes to show how fast things can turn into a dangerous situation, and why people, including myself, need to take serious precautions before going into the backcountry.
*Catch another angle of KC’s close call at the 2:50 mark of Voleurz’s “Resurrection” video.