Blind Spot

  amie   Dec 12, 2013   Uncategorized   98 Comments

Beautiful bluebird at Alta Ski Area

We all know the feeling when you are cruising down the freeway, feeling good, with some great music playing. Feeling confident, you just ease on over into the next lane, and BEEEP! You jerk and swerve back into your lane, narrowly avoiding disaster. Although we have been told and trained our entire lives to check our blind spot, sometimes you just don’t.

Monday (Dec. 9th 2013) was one of those beautiful blue bird Utah days that we dream about. The sun was shinning, not a cloud in sight, and there were endless pockets of cold, light and dry Utah powder everywhere. I am a Lake Tahoe, CA, native and was out visiting Utah to ski some early season snow, host the red carpet at the Powder Video Awards, and was hoping to get some still shooting in. It was my last day in Utah and finally a great shoot day.

It was early season, but the conditions were crushing for taking classic Utah pow shots. I spent the morning hiking a little untracked shoulder in bounds at Alta Ski Area for one photographer, and as I was headed in for lunch I got the call that another photographer/friend I wanted to work with was out and wanted to meet up. Skipping lunch, I rushed over to meet up with him and another female skier. It was my first time meeting and skiing with the other athlete and it was my first time shooting with this photographer, though we had spent a great deal of shred time together over the past week.

Getting a shot early am with photographer #1. Photo credit: Mike Rogge

Getting a shot early am with photographer #1. Photo: Mike Rogge

We grabbed a couple shots in bounds, full of laughs and smiles. We all joked that it was almost like cheating because it was so beautiful, the snow was so good and the shots were so easy. It was the kind of day I had hoped for all week. My first true shoot day of the year, I was fired up to say the least. It was the kind of thing I live for. Beautiful snow, smiling and turning, getting some fun mellow work done. I think we all felt the same.

We decided with the great snow and the beautiful afternoon light to keep shooting. The other skier and photographer unanimously decided to go hit up a zone at the base of Grizzly Gulch. They talked about how it was the money spot, where multiple covers of Powder magazine had come from, and how it was a great small, safe spot to get some bangers. After the later events of the day and talking with many local athletes and photographers, I learned that zone at the base of Grizzly Gulch is a place where many people go on dangerous days to shoot, and is often thought of as a safe zone. We all stopped at the base, me and the other athlete ran to the car to get our avy backpacks and a couple snacks then hopped on the rope tow to make our way to the other side of the resort. We laughed and joked the whole way over, sharing childhood ski stories and still enjoying a truly amazing day.

We took a cat-track, eventually traversing out of the ski area boundary, popped off our skis and started the short (less than 10 min.) boot pack up to the money spot. We talked very briefly about the snow and safety at the top. Checking the area, we didn’t see any visible signs of instability or recent activity, and it was mentioned that the slope had been skied recently. We realized that the other skier had her pack (not an airbag) but had forgotten her beacon and that the photographer didn’t have backcountry gear. Our plan was to keep it mellow, safe, get a shot or two and head back.

We decided on a plan of action for the shots, the photographer got into position, and the other skier and I hiked up further for speed. We had the shot lined up, I was to go first. I offered for the other skier to take the first shot, reasoning she had shot here a million times and knew the mark, but we decided I would go first as she had a cell phone, mine was dead, and could talk to the photographer about the next shot. I was all set, as she yelled dropping I took slight notice of two hikers across the ravine that seemed to be watching and had the fleeting thought that should something crazy happen, at least there are eyes over there. I whizzed by two other hikers making their way up, dropped in, hit my mark with a beautiful (feeling) deep Utah slash turn.

As I was finishing my turn, everything changed. I saw cracks everywhere and felt the undeniable shift of the snow beneath me. At that moment the knowledge and training that I do have, that had been previously neglected throughout the day, kicked in. I swiftly and easily pulled my airbag trigger and felt it inflate. I saw some small trees diagonally to my right and knew that was my only chance. I did not want to go into the ditch. I managed to stay upright, swimming with all I had, and made it to the trees. I grabbed onto the trees and felt the airbag getting caught on them, possibly helping me stay there as snow rushed around me. Then something happened and the snow had new strength, ripping me from the trees. After later talking to the photographer, I learned that the entire slope above me sympathetically released and took me down.

avi1

Photo: www.UtahAvalancheCenter.org

As soon as I was pulled from the trees, I knew this was a worst-case scenario. I was headed for a steep, deep, terrain trap with powerful deep snow all around me. The words of my Avy 1 instructor, Lel Tone, took over my mind. I grabbed the side of my helmet, creating a protective “V” shape in front of my mouth. I was tossed and tumbled and pretty quickly came to rest and snow completely covered by face and head. Later information report on the Utah Avalanche Center website stated the width of the slide was 150 feet, the length was over 100 vertical feet, the crown was 2 feet deep and I was burred about a half meter (1.5 feet) under the snow. Without an airbag I would have likely been buried 1.5-2 meters under the snow.

For a millisecond, panic started to creep in, but Lel’s voice came back. I had an inch or so air pocket in front of my mouth. I closed my eyes, didn’t try to move, and started to breathe slowly. Within what I believe to be 20-30 seconds, I felt and heard movement on top of me. I later learned the photographer was the first to get to me, saw the tip of my pole sticking out of the snow. He began clearing the snow as the other rescuers arrived. Shortly after I felt a probe strike my right arm. I gave a few loud yells that were unheard. I heard the digging and felt the pressure lessen. They uncovered my right hand first, grabbed and squeezed it. I squeezed back. Shortly after, snow was swept away from my face. As I took a deep breath in, I saw the relieved face of the photographer, quite possibly the best thing I have ever seen.

avi2

Photo: www.UtahAvalancheCenter.org

My rescuers included the photographer and three people I did not know. They asked if I was hurt, I said I didn’t think so but I had peed my pants; clearly I was scared. They located my limbs, one ski was still attached and they got me fully out quickly. I stood up, trembling; amazed at what happed and that I wasn’t hurt. A rush of immense gratitude took over towards these strangers who had put themselves in danger to save me. Soon after a rush of utter stupidity came over me as my eyes awoke to all the warning signs around us.

avi3

Photo: www.UtahAvalancheCenter.org

There was hang fire and lots of people above us, so we got out of the area quickly. My other ski was lost in the deep pile of snow and we didn’t want to spend time in danger to look for it. I was using a borrowed airbag pack, a different brand from my usual one, and did not know how to deflate it so I hiked up the sugary, bushy slope with both balloons still full of air.

Once out of the ditch and in safe zone, we said goodbye to my rescuers. The photographer and I Googled how to deflate the airbag and signaled to the other skier in our crew who was still across the ravine above the slide, to meet us as the bottom. I clicked into my one ski and we slowly made our way down the cat track to the road. A police officer was waiting for us at the bottom, got our information and gave us a ride back to the Alta parking lot.

The emotional aftermath of this incident was something I didn’t expect. While I was shaken, relieved and shocked, I mostly felt incredibly stupid and utterly disappointed with myself. As we were walking out of the ditch, we saw recent avalanche activity on the slope right next to where I skied, that we did not see from above. We recalled the avy report that both the photographer and I had read separately that morning, saying there was considerable danger for skier triggered avalanches on northern aspects above 8,000 feet. That was exactly where I had skied, and there was a massive terrain trap right below me. I knew that the accident report was going to be one that if I had read it about someone else I would have thought, “Wow. Those guys were idiots.”

I realized that I had just been a primary witness to the most dangerous aspect of backcountry travel—the human factor. I am relatively new to backcountry skiing, having only completed the classroom portion of my avy 1 course, yet due to my lack of experience have been an overly cautious person when it comes to snow safety. I knew the photographer was experienced in the backcountry and felt him to be cautious and trustworthy. I did not know the other skier, but knew she was familiar with the area and both my companions were very confident in the safety of the area. It was a classic example of a false sense of security on their part, and me putting too much faith in the locals to the area and not thinking to ask questions.

The lesson we are all taking from this is it can happen to any of us, even when we thought it never could. We let the utter awesomeness of the day outshine any warning signs or information that could have helped us make a better decision. We got caught up in doing what we love, forgetting how early in the season it was. And most of all, we were overconfident with a false sense of security in the terrain because of familiarity.

When it comes down to it, we didn’t check our blind spot. I have always thought I was too smart to make that mistake, but I did. At some point we all have. I am truly grateful that the situation was not worse. I am grateful that from the moment everything went wrong, everything went  right. I am forever thankful to my rescuers who were smarter and more prepared than us. Most importantly, I am grateful that this can be a wake up and a lesson in humility for me, and everyone one like me, to stay smart, not forget to use our brains and to always check our blind spots.

To read the full accident report, please visit the Utah Avalanche Center: http://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanches/18960

98 Comments

  1. Alan Ramsay Says: December 12, 2013 4:12 pm

    Amie, your honesty is incredible. I am so happy for the way that things turned out for you. We all need and have had these wake up calls in life and your openness will help so many people.
    Thanks and very best wishes as always

  2. High Fives Says: December 12, 2013 4:19 pm

    Everyone at the High Fives is so grateful you are here smiling with us still, thanks for sharing this experience, ready to rock out with Andy Frasco tonight?

  3. LH Says: December 12, 2013 5:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing this so openly. Glad you’re ok.

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  6. Jim Harris Says: December 12, 2013 6:45 pm

    Thanks for the thoughtful and candid writeup. Like Kobernick wrote in the UAC report, “The lure of the deep Utah powder is strong and it can influence even the most experienced and cautious people. The victim was very candid when I spoke with her and I want to thank her for sharing her experience. It was a perfect outcome to a bad situation that we can all learn from.”

  7. Jim Says: December 12, 2013 6:46 pm

    Thanks for the thoughtful and candid writeup. Like Kobernick wrote in the UAC report, “The lure of the deep Utah powder is strong and it can influence even the most experienced and cautious people. The victim was very candid when I spoke with her and I want to thank her for sharing her experience. It was a perfect outcome to a bad situation that we can all learn from.”

  8. Carolyn Morrissey Says: December 12, 2013 6:47 pm

    Amie, I’m so glad you are safe. What an incredible story. Don’t beat yourself up, you did great!

  9. Bryan graham Says: December 12, 2013 6:49 pm

    Hey dont know if you remember me but we went out on bocca wake surfing with sean and cass. Reading this story gave me the chills. Had a Experience on the side of a cliff on my snow mo that gave me the helpless feeling you had. Glad your ok hope all is well!!

  10. gaperville Says: December 12, 2013 7:19 pm

    We Love You Amy!!!

  11. Blair Cook (@blaircook) Says: December 12, 2013 8:44 pm

    Amie, thank you for taking the time to write this up and be vulnerable on the web – a terrifying thing for sure. As someone who is not an experienced backcountry traveler and just starting to educate myself, hearing this story is a great glimpse into the level of diligence we all need to have while chasing turns and a grounding reminder of how quickly one big slashing turn can become terrifying. Thank you, Blair Cook. Portland, Ore.

  12. snowvols Says: December 12, 2013 9:06 pm

    Great write-up. Glad you made it out safely. Could have been worse. No point in MMQB the situation as we have all made mistakes. Good news is that you learned from it and now to move on.

  13. Alex Hunt Says: December 12, 2013 9:24 pm

    Amie,
    Your candor is very much appreciated. It’s hard to honestly evaluate one’s own mistakes, but that is the only way to turn something like this into a positive. I applaud you for doing so in a public manner so others can learn as well.

    Also, you are one heck of a writer – nice job with this post!

  14. emil Says: December 12, 2013 9:44 pm

    When you coming to nyc? another dangerous event…navigatin’ the streets…

  15. Rogge Says: December 12, 2013 10:19 pm

    Proud of you and glad you’re okay, Peanut.

  16. Skian Says: December 12, 2013 11:55 pm

    I am glad you made it. I have many friends who didn’t.

  17. Pete Says: December 13, 2013 12:14 am

    A very well written and highly informative account. Glad you were ok. Two years ago I almost did exactly the same thing but the lip started to slide to the side of me from when I went past it and when I noticed I managed to hockey stop about 10 feet under the break line, it all just went past my legs but the ravine filled up below. I put it on YouTube as a lesson for others, my cam caught the whole thing. A momentary lapse of judgement thinking that I was safe in the trees. Like you, I realised later the things I should have noticed that day.

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  19. Andrew Says: December 13, 2013 12:48 am

    ” I knew that the accident report was going to be one that if I had read it about someone else I would have thought, “Wow. Those guys were idiots.””

    Yup, pretty much what I thought when I read it, but respect where respect is due, you’ve come out of it alive, wiser and are aware of where you went wrong. A valuable lesson that I’m sure you’ll be sharing for the rest of your life, and maybe it’ll save someone else.

  20. lynnnrichardson Says: December 13, 2013 12:51 am

    I’ve taken Lel’s class, and remember hearing stories similar to what you went through that ended up so much worse. So glad you are OK, and think it is great that you are getting the word out. Hopefully what you say will help other’s remember to take that second look.

  21. Lel Tone Says: December 13, 2013 1:50 am

    Amie, thanks for having the balls and the courage to put yourself under the microscope. It takes great humility to debrief incidents like this on a personal level and even greater humility to do it in a public forum such as this. Way to go girl!
    So much to be learned from Mother Nature, always and forever.
    Arm chair quarterbacks may say what they will, but no one that plays and makes a living working in the mountains is infallible all the time. We can only hope that we learn our lessons and take our spankings.
    Thanks for sharing and so incredibly grateful to have your beautiful self with us today.

  22. Emily Says: December 13, 2013 2:18 am

    Amie, I really enjoyed reading what you wrote! Thank you for your honesty, and for sharing your thoughts with the public. I think many fellow BC skiers thought “what was she thinking?!?” after watching the video. Your article brought us clarity and understanding, and will hopefully help the rest of us avoid making similar mistakes.

  23. Dirk Says: December 13, 2013 2:27 am

    Hey, gotta respect that you came out with your side of the story, it’s great if other people can learn from this. But seriously, that “grizzly/down canyon” photo shot is so overused and unoriginal. Oh and I notice your photographer’s blog has been quiet about all this, he knows better, it’d be appropriate if he fessed up so all could learn from the mistakes made……

  24. mmichelson Says: December 13, 2013 4:24 am

    Amie, so proud of you for sharing your story in such thoughtful detail. It takes bravery and heart to do that. We can all learn from this incident. So thankful you are OK.

    Megan

  25. Dave Klein Says: December 13, 2013 8:34 am

    I would like to say “you set yourself up for disaster. The underlying snowpack was shit and we just got our fist good dump in a while. what were you thinking” But I know that area well and I could see it being a place to get off some good shots. It is only a few hundred feet of vert. and nothing much to worry about above. What can really go wrong? I could see jumping into that upper slope. knowing the break over I would have stopped or skied out left. You didn’t know that terrain. You where incredibly lucky to have had those guys across the gulch watching you, and their skill and knowledge certainly saved you. Avalanches happen. Learn as much as you can, it might not save you but it sure as hell can’t hurt. If it is any consolation, almost the exact same thing happened to some Pro Patrollers down canyon on the same aspect a couple hundred ft elevation below yours; the day before. I guess ski areas don’t post their issues. Let that be a warning.

  26. Rick Sylvester Says: December 13, 2013 8:45 am

    That’s just the way it happens. It’s a very tricky business. Judging avalanche risk and potential is surely the most ambiguous thing in the mountains re. both climbing and skiing.

  27. Chris Pond Says: December 13, 2013 2:55 pm

    Great write up, glad you are OK. Thanks for sharing. We all screw up and take heat, you took it well.

  28. Pierre Askmo Says: December 13, 2013 3:17 pm

    Amie, that is great, smart and honest introspection. Look at the whole thing as a blessing in disguise. This is one of those situations where “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” (and smarter…). I talk from experience when I say that there is nothing like getting caught in a good avalanche to instill in us the kind of respect and caution that makes a real long BC ski career possible. It helped me not take any slope for granted anymore. I saw “your” avy last Wednesday and it really brings home the point that even really small slopes can be big trouble. This is going to make me re-assess what qualifies for test slope…

  29. Matt Says: December 13, 2013 3:25 pm

    Wow, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. You will definitely be a better and stronger person from this humbling experience but what I am the most impressed with is you willingness and openness to share with others to help them become better and stronger through you.

  30. Kim Kircher Says: December 13, 2013 3:34 pm

    Thanks for putting this out there. I’m so glad to read an accident write up with a positive outcome. Had you not had the airbag or been alone and the outcome was different, the ski community would dance around these questions and never quite be able to embrace them. Only when it happens to you can you really offer these lessons. Your gratitude and humility and willingness to share your experience for the benefit of others just shows that you must be a very thoughtful person.

  31. LuckyDay Says: December 13, 2013 3:43 pm

    I had my own “learning experience” in that exact same spot. It was a low danger day and nothing slid, but I have been haunted by it ever since for blindly disregarding my own inner voice to follow someone else’s bad decision – succumbing to the human factor makes you feel a little sick inside. I’m glad you were unhurt.

  32. Brian Says: December 13, 2013 4:01 pm

    Thank you for your willingness to provide this insight. Your story with the corresponding video and still shots (and happy outcome) provides UAC with a perfect case study to review in Avy 1 classes. Very well written.

  33. Marc Says: December 13, 2013 4:07 pm

    Amie, I was caught in an avalanche as well, one that I should have known would occur given the situation. Take the experience for what it is, a learning experience and don’t beat yourself up. I think your description of the blind spot was right on, we all do it occasionally, it is human nature, sometimes someone is going to get caught.

  34. Shawn Carter Says: December 13, 2013 4:20 pm

    Amie, a great retrospective look at the event. It can happen to anyone. 27 years ago, two people lost their lives skiing sunset peak under very similar circumstances. All the signs were there and yet two very experienced parties took obvious risks leading to a completely unacceptable outcome.

    It is not apparent now. The incident is still very fresh. Well down the road, when the memory of it is a little fuzzy because you have hit the replay button so many times the edges of the disc are worn thin, there will be a time where this information will play an important role in the decisions you make.

    It will not be a clear cut, in your face situation. You probably won’t even recall this incident specifically, although right now that is hard to believe. The point is, when this happens, and it will, act on your gut.

    happy trails

    Shawn Carter

  35. jon Says: December 13, 2013 4:41 pm

    Great post! The human factor is very hard to overcome. Glad you made it out alive and unharmed.

  36. Randy Says: December 13, 2013 5:00 pm

    I am glad you made it home to your family and friends. I admire your honesty.

  37. Rick Whitson Says: December 13, 2013 8:01 pm

    Another tragedy narrowly averted, thank goodness! At least in an area like where this occured, there is more likely to be others nearby to facilitate a rescue. I have skied the backcountry for many years, and recently, in an effort to help other skiers feel what it is like to be involved in a deadly avalanche, wrote an article for the current issue of the Utah Adventure Journal about an experience I had. I sincerely hope some take it to heart and use a little more caution.

  38. foolish idiots Says: December 13, 2013 8:38 pm

    stupid people doing stupid shit hell there was a slide right next to that one from days before so … why the hell would you go out there… that’s an idiotic place to be!

    • Pierre Askmo Says: December 14, 2013 10:37 pm

      This is the kind of response that only a blissfully ignorant and very unexperienced backcountry skier can mistake for a meaningful contribution to a very complex issue and insightful post.

    • andrew Says: December 14, 2013 11:19 pm

      A lot can happen to the snow pack in a few days, so while an old slide might an an indicator of where and how a slip might happen under the right conditions, it’s not necessarily an indicator of the snow pack right now. If we only skied where there’d never been a slide, a lot of the mountains would be off-limits.

    • Johnny Yuma Says: December 19, 2013 5:46 am

      Are you referring to the slide to skier’s right of the one that caught Amie? If so, I don’t think it was an old slide. It seems to have broken out seconds after the primary and nearly fatal one. Such a “sympathetic” slide is interesting in terms of avalanche phenomena and instructive in terms of avalanche awareness. In any case, the outcome of this incident is a Christmas gift for all of us.

  39. drgege Says: December 13, 2013 10:34 pm

    Very glad you made it to tell your story. Thanks for sharing. I hope it will serve us all.

  40. Kailas Says: December 13, 2013 11:28 pm

    I’m dumbfounded by your actions. Use your brain. Looks like you were more concerned about getting a SICK photograph taken then you were about personal safety and awareness. Unfortunately there are many other morons like you in this sport. It’s all about getting the GNAR shot and a chance to get on POWDER magazine bro brah!!! SICK. Pffffft. Stay the hell out of the backcountry. Please.

    • Pierre Askmo Says: December 14, 2013 10:43 pm

      Kaillas, that is some wonderful Monday quarterbacking. I have found over the years that it is mostly the blissfully ignorant and very unexperienced backcountry skier that is the strongest in hindsight, the one that will NEVER EVER get caught in ANY avalanche because on paper it is really clear how easy that is to avoid.

    • andrew Says: December 14, 2013 11:22 pm

      When you consider that the other skier and photographer in Amie’s party knew the area and had, as far as I can tell, suggested that it was a relatively safe area, it’s easy to see how that can affect your judgement. We all make judgement calls all the time, we all evaluate risk in everything we do, but some things have more weighting than others.

      The best thing we can all do, yourself included, is learn from this, not condemn it. Even if the lessons you take away are that you believe you’re doing it right, it’s still a lesson.

      • ZENSKIER Says: December 26, 2013 3:41 pm

        This is for both Andrew and Pierre. You are both guilty of the same thing Kailas is. Monday Quarterbacking Kailas comment. Now who is slinging the karmic mud. Why is it that the observer who does go deeeep into the dark, who really gets to the blight is less knowledgeable than you? Why cannot some process through by being angry, surprised, scared and vocal anymore than you can take the position you did and also vocalize ? This is an open discussion and if you read both Amie’s account and Adam Clark the photographers account they both too have asked themselves what they themselves were thinking. They have both gone to the dark recesses of their mind and beat themselves up. While you are there in the dark recesses you are still a beautiful person and you two are no better or worse. I would warn you two heavily to be extremely cautious for now you have tilted your own bc karmic wheel. You two do not understand “persistant” slab and you have montsers lurking in your own basements.

  41. Mike Austin Says: December 14, 2013 1:16 pm

    Hi Amie, I’m an Avalanche educator based in Europe, and just wish to say thank you for sharing – . Your storey is a really interesting insight into the human factor. Hindsight has 20/20 vision Factors that walks with all of us in the backcountry.

  42. nordicpatroller Says: December 14, 2013 5:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience and emphasizing the importance of avalanche education.

  43. Kate Ferguson Says: December 14, 2013 6:27 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I have forwarded it to my young son who is a back country skier at Alta. I really appreciate your honesty and truth. I am so glad you are safe. You can feel stupid if you want, but remember that you have passed on this important message to others, and perhaps you will save someone else. I am very thankful you are safe. Godspeed!

  44. Joe Oglesby Says: December 14, 2013 9:11 pm

    Amie,

    You are a lucky lady.
    Commendable of you to have the humility to post this for all to see.
    Kudos to those that risked their safety to save your life.
    By posting your story, you have helped all who read this to make better decisions that may well save their life, or someone in their groups life.
    You have turned your mistake into a positive thing. Thank-You

    Joe Oglesby

  45. Tom Henderson Says: December 14, 2013 10:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Such an informative learning tool.

  46. Al Fish Says: December 15, 2013 2:50 pm

    The more I learn about snow the greater my knowledge of what I do not know.
    Everyone who has spent any time riding the backcountry has made questionable decisions. They do not remember most of them because nothing happened. I ski Canyons and the sheer number of uneducated, unequipped riders blithely dropping steep sidecountry slopes shows the low odds of being caught even while ignoring any thought of snow safety. I am glad you are ok. Do not beat yourself up but get out and ski in storms (when the snow is most reactive) every chance you get..See the starting zones and terrain traps everywhere inbounds and out. Comfort yourself with the thought the most knowledgeable will be the least critical.

  47. Stacia Says: December 16, 2013 4:14 am

    Thanks for the details. It took balls to come out and admit your errors. We all can learn from your experiences.

  48. Jaxon Merrill Says: December 17, 2013 2:12 am

    Great article Amie, with lots of learned knowledge. And, I am grateful that you are safe and that I got the opportunity to meet you less than a week after this event.

  49. wottraveltwickenham Says: December 17, 2013 5:09 pm

    Great story Amy.. So glad you made it and lived to tell the tale so well!

  50. happyandsimple Says: December 17, 2013 5:32 pm

    Thanks for the honest write-up; this will go a long way in educating others. I think most of us have let ourselves feel like there is ‘safety in numbers’ at some point. My best friend had an early season encounter years ago and wasn’t so lucky – glad to hear you made it out.

  51. segmation Says: December 17, 2013 5:47 pm

    Snow is very pretty, but I think I would like it to be caught in the beach!

  52. Where There's a Will, There's a Roadway Says: December 17, 2013 5:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Where There's a Will, There's a Roadway and commented:
    Hard-Core Traveler of the Week: Avalanche Survivor

    This woman survived an avalanche in Utah. Thank God everyone is ok!

  53. allthoughtswork Says: December 17, 2013 9:23 pm

    As a former Coloradoan with dozens of 14ners under my belt, this story is familiar but luckily, I was never the protagonist in the tale. Closest I came was hearing the subterranean booming sound of a slab fracturing beneath my feet. I was able to side step past its flank out of the danger zone and view the crown from a rocky spot above.

    The slab never released, just sat there, ready to go, with a gigantic gash several inches wide and many meters long marking the potential starting point. Needless to say, I found a different route down the mountain. I’ll never forget the sickening wave of fear that shot through my body when I heard that boom out in the middle of the snowy white silence.

  54. Holly Collingwood - 100 Days of Summer Says: December 17, 2013 9:28 pm

    Glad you are alright, smarter and were spared anything worse.

  55. susankier Says: December 17, 2013 9:46 pm

    Your feelings are probably a lot like grief. You go through stages until you reach acceptance (nothing can change what happened).

  56. artmoscow Says: December 17, 2013 11:39 pm

    The best off-piste ski instructor I happen to know in the French Alps is the best because he was buried in and saved from an avalance early on in his career ) Good luck with your off-piste skiing!

  57. feonicamartinez Says: December 18, 2013 4:55 am

    Glad she’s safe! Avalanche is really dangerous, thanks for the newly invented equipments to save someone in an avalanche, also for the rescuers who came quickly to check her condition.

  58. Valerie Van S Says: December 18, 2013 12:27 pm

    Wow, made me almost sick to my stomach. What a scary experience. I am thankful for the happy ending.

  59. meanlittleboy2 Says: December 18, 2013 3:14 pm

    almost as bad as being caught in a dust storm south of Phoenix, AZ

  60. VanishaRDailey Says: December 18, 2013 3:42 pm

    WOW! What an amazing story. I’m so glad you’re fine and didn’t get hurt.

  61. Book Club Mom Says: December 18, 2013 6:39 pm

    Very scary, but you handled the situation so well. Great blog!

  62. Miss Marion Stewart Says: December 20, 2013 2:51 am

    Great Story, hope you know how lucky you are……

  63. Mat Young Says: December 20, 2013 6:33 am

    keep being honest. i think we are all guilty of forgetting to check our blind spot’s from time to time. Glad it worked out for the best in the end. Take it and learn from it.

  64. Pingback: The Weekly Stoke: Surviving an avalanche, how to spot a bad partner, father-son adventuring and a new outdoorsy book | proactiveoutside

  65. emmx2013 Says: December 21, 2013 12:18 am

    So glad you are still with us!
    Evelyn
    Here’s to Your Health!
    evelynmmaxwell.com

  66. Pete Atkinson Says: December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

    Thanks for posting. it helps us all learn.

  67. Ben Says: December 21, 2013 9:18 pm

    Thanks for being open with the report; lesser folks wouldn’t have had the courage to be this open. Stay safe

  68. Roger Strong Says: December 24, 2013 10:39 am

    Thank you Amie for your honest and humble story…with your reset button refreshed, you will have a long lifetime enjoying many amazing experiences in the mountains…yes, we all make mistakes and truly learning from them is what makes life really sweet;
    http://www.powdermag.com/videos/coming-back-strong/

  69. Joseph C Kim Says: December 24, 2013 1:57 pm

    Next time, you’ll want to wear the backpack that inflates and protects you in a bubble so that you will be safe!

  70. adornedhome Says: December 26, 2013 8:58 pm

    What an incredible thing to live through! My husband is an avid snowmobiler in the mountains of Montana and Utah, they have to be very cautious of these situations when they go out. Great reality check!

  71. Ted Steiner Says: December 29, 2013 10:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing Arnie.. So fortunate that you are ok and have the opportunity to share your story with others… It’s so important to share this experience to others- Keep sharing.

  72. getarycom Says: December 30, 2013 4:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Getary.

  73. yukonjohn1 Says: December 30, 2013 4:37 pm

    I’m glad your safe Amie! I used to do a lot of mountaineering in Alaska and have been buried three times in Avalanches. The third one left me with my neck broken in two places and by the time I got out of there 4 days later my core temp. was down to 86F. I’ve switched sports since then :). I’ve taken several avalanche safety courses and they really help, still there is always the chance that you can get caught. It’s all about limiting the risks, eh?

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  75. jsamardak Says: January 1, 2014 8:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing this experience. Glad you were able to listen to the voice in your head and maintain decision-making abilities.

  76. Sandra Stephens Says: January 1, 2014 10:09 pm

    You’re very lucky, congratulations.

  77. ennairamnl Says: January 2, 2014 11:31 am

    I’m jealous. What a wonderful piece of Earth!

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  80. imjustalittechubby Says: January 13, 2014 4:45 am

    Thanks for sharing, very honest account.

  81. Jean-Marc Says: January 13, 2014 1:27 pm

    Thanks Amie for sharing your story. Very honest about how quickly we can get brainless for a split second, most usually at the last ride of the day… Sounds all too familiar… Small mistakes are usually insignificant when taken alone; however, they always prove to have catastrophic consequences when adding up on each other. Lesson learned : every member of the party should carry without exception the cardinal 4 life-saving accessories (beacon, probe, shovel, airbag) and be trained at avalanche rescue, including the photograph ! You are extremely lucky that another party was watching you, had that equipment with them, were quick on the scene and were well trained. Take-home message : never without my safety pack to help other people out and never trust people when they say it’s safe… Greetings from a snowy Switzerland and have a safe ride !

  82. mwp314 Says: February 9, 2014 5:57 pm

    Thank you for your story. I am so amazed and humbled. I hope that you have forgiven yourself.

  83. Pingback: Being Smart In the Backcountry… Making Good Decisions | Backcountry Exposure

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