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Insane Avalanche Videos



While a light sprinkling of snow is fluffy and innocent-looking, accumulations can quickly become deadly — especially on steep mountain slopes. When skiers and snowboarders sneak off of groomed, marked runs to find layer upon layer of fresh powder, they put themselves out of reach and at the mercy of the elements. The hunt for powder could result in being caught in a deadly avalanche, which, we guarantee you, is not of interest to even the most extreme of athletes.

Here are five insane avalanche videos to prove it.

Ski Lift Destroyer

This isn’t a disaster movie. This avalanche happened in March 2012 at a ski resort in Savoie, France… a ski resort that probably should have done a bit more dynamiting before the day began. Miraculously, nobody was injured during this slo-mo cataclysm, which destroyed a ski lift and left more than 40 skiers dangling in the sky. As is the case during all avalanches, the mountain’s conditions were partially responsible for the slide: high snowfall totals combined with unseasonably warm temperatures caused a curtain of snow to unbuckle from the mountain and fall by the grace of gravity.

First Person Burial and Rescue

Imminent death. That’s what this unnamed skier must have felt racing towards him with a frosty sickle as he waited for four and a half minutes caked solid in a mausoleum of suffocating snow. This video, shot near Haines, Alaska, captures the horror of being caught in an avalanche. It starts with a fracture underfoot, followed by whiteout and loss of control. Very often, avalanches end in death, usually by asphyxiation or blunt force trauma. Not here. After being buried, the victim sees blue sky again because he had smartly hit the backcountry with a few friends experienced in avalanche rescue. Good friends to have.

Riding Out

Famed boarder Travis Rice rode out of a deadly avalanche in his movie First Descent.  The snow spider-webbed out from under him and spilled down the mountain, but thanks to his extensive backcountry experience and knowledge of how snow works, Travis made like a surfer and dipped under the thick cloud of cascading death, pushing on the solid snow underneath and traversing out of harms way. Later, while promoting The Art of Flight, Travis spoke about the near-fateful day on the mountain:

“I’ll be honest, there was definitely no strategy. You do whatever you can do in situations like that. Sometimes you outrun it, sometimes you try to cut to the side, but more often than not you just try to avoid it.”

Saved By A Tree

In this video, pro skier Michael Nugent opts to outrun the avalanche he sets off in the backcountry of Montana. With no outlet in sight, straight ahead into a stand of evergreens is the only escape from the explosion chasing him from behind. The only choice is the smart choice, and it pays off. Nugent is able to to latch onto a tree as the eruption of snow blows by him. He escaped with just a broken hip and thigh.

Group Trauma

February 19, 2012 was a powder day. A huge storm had just buzzsawed across the Pacific Northwest, spitting 32 inches of fresh snow on Stevens Pass, a popular resort in the Washington Cascades. According to the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center, on that day, the avalanche danger was officially “Considerable” at Tunnel Creek, a backside backcountry chute favored by locals. That risk assessment proved accurate, as a huge sheet of snow near the top of the run broke free and swept up several skiers below. They were hurled like rag dolls over rocks and against trees and found buried more than 2,000 vertical feet from where the slide started. When the snow settled, three skiers had died by blunt force trauma and asphyxia. A fourth survived by bracing himself against a tree. A fifth, Elyse Saugstad, was saved by her avalanche survival airbag. Or maybe she was just lucky.

Cover Photo Credit: arriba –

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