First let me start off by saying this is not directly ski related, we were snowmobiling when this happed, but skiers get in the same situations so i hope people learn from this....
Yesterday, (Sunday) my friends and i went out riding for the last day of the year near West Jellystone, reall hot day, not many other people, but a few.Long sotry short we make it to a bowl type area with good highmarking. After doing a couple pits we decided to not climb, but take a break and eat and have a beer. While we were eating another group comes up (2 guys one girl). After talking we can see them eyeing a nice untracked headwall. My friends and i step in saying we did tests and they didnt seem to promising. They kindly say OK but this is the end of the season, and slides are rare when its this hot.
At this point something inside me goes off, but to not start trouble i just say fine your call. This is where the story gets crazy. One guy goes right for the face he was pointing at earlier, at the apex of his mark, the entire face breaks off, and a thunderou sound roars throughout the bowl. He immideatley trys to straighten the sled out but its to late and he is engulfed in chunks bigger than his machine. This all seemed to go in slowmo, and i was so devastated i couldnt move at first. The slide begins to settle at the bottom, and while i did my best to keep my eye on him i lost it about 3/4 the way down.
Now everyone rushes over to the slide. His friend and girlfriend (later found out) get out thier transievers at the bottom of the sldie and frantically fumble them. While this is happening im looking around to see what the possibilty of another slide was. Even though another slide was very possible, i couldnt ust leave the guy under, so under bad judgment my friends and i go in. We start a systimatical search from last seen point (while yeelling for the other guy and girl to get out of the way and turn thiers off). After what seemed like an hour we locate him to a good 5 foot range.
Then the digging begins. I have never had a rush of adrenaline quite like this, and it was like trying to dig through cement. A plastic shovel would have been absolutley usleless. METAL SHOVELS NO EXCEPTION. everyone rotoated in and out and dug like a motherfucker. (except said girl, she was crying on the side). Although we know to dig a coffin sized hole it gets smaller and smaller, finally my buddy strikes his boot. This was one of the worst feelings in the world, we were so close yet so far away. We finally got enough of him out to yank him from the snow. Amazingly, he was just a little sshaken up and extremely cold. At this point we make a fire and get the guy warmed up, he later doe out with a friend as his sled was snowehre to be found....
I just want peple to know, YOU MUST KNOW YOUR BEACON! in a time like this everything wizzed by and your adrenaline is pumping. People freak out and its easy to lose focus. Also, have self control. I got LUCKY another slide didnt trigger, we all risked our lives but its a very difficult desicion. the avalanche saftey course my riding buddys and i took was one of the best decisions of my life.
And finally, never assume. We made the call not to ride it, they didnt. I feel pretty comfortable saying id we went there all of them could have been dead.
thanks for reading.
Could someone embed these pics?
There are more pics, but i dont feel right showing them because they are emotional with people i dont know well.
BE SAFE EVERYONE AND HAPPY RIDING