Terrifying Avalanche Rescue Video Will Make You Think Twice Before Hitting the Slopes (Video)

avalanche rescue video

If you were looking for a reason to never go skiing again, this avalanche rescue video ought to do it.

And if that’s not enough, you can read the accompanying description of what it’s like to be buried alive under four feet of snow by the guy who got buried alive under four feet of snow.

The video was shot back in January. A guy named James Mort was doing some back country skiing on the Swiss Alps with his friends when he got caught in an avalanche and completely buried. One of said friends was wearing a GoPro at the time, and he captured the first five frantic minutes.

Mort wrote about the entire experience in a long essay posted on Tumblr. Here is an excerpt in which he recounts his failed effort to escape the avalanche:

I figured my best option was to ski over the frozen creek at the bottom and up the other side of the gully to escape. However as I hit the creek I slammed into a shoulder high wall of snow on the other side of the gully which stopped me dead in my tracks. I looked up just in time to watch the avalanche envelope me. The last thing I managed to do before I was completely buried was to reach as high as I could above the snow with my left arm and ski pole.

And here is an excerpt in which he described what it’s like to be buried alive:

As the snow piled higher and higher, It became darker and darker until I was surrounded by an eerie black silence, broken only by the sound of my slow breathing and racing heartbeat. “Okay” I thought to myself; “You’re dead.” I had a shovel and probe in my backpack and I was wearing a transceiver, however, the others were only carrying a shovel and probe. I was convinced that they would not find me in time. Unable to move I focused on slowing my breathing, relaxing and conserving oxygen. I felt bizarrely emotionless and wondered for a moment what death would be like. Then I remembered that I was reaching upwards with my left arm, ski pole still attached. I tried to wiggle my hand and I felt a ‘pop’ as the top 5cm of the pole broke the surface of the snow. Suddenly emotion flooded through me as I realised that Andrew, Dan and Leonard would be able to locate me under the snow if they saw the tip of the pole. However I still forced myself to remain calm as I sat in wait.

Yep. Holy shit.

Here’s the video. It makes you feel like you were actually there…trying to find your friend before he died of asphyxiation. Fun!

I looked up avalanche preparedness and survival after watching this video. And as James himself points out in his Tumblr post, these guys basically did everything wrong. (Don’t all ski at the same time. EVERYBODY wear a transceiver/beacon. Don’t take off your skis before you find your friend. Et cetera.) So basically, he is alive today because (a) he had the sense to raise his pole as he got buried and (b) the snow wasn’t three inches deeper.

Scary thought, no?

Hat Tip – [Deadspin]

Tags: alpine skiing, avalanche, backcountry skiing, GoPro videos, skiing,