On March 2nd, 2013 two skiers were caught in an 6-foot deep, 1,200-foot wide avalanche in Paradise Bowl on the west side of Cameron Pass near Fort Collins in the Colorado backcoutry. One didn’t make it and the other was buried for over 3 hours before being rescued by professional rescuers.
Very few avalanche victims survive over a burial over 30 minutes (see graph below). To survive over 3 hours is remarkable.
The avalanche survivor was a 24-year old male law student who sustained a torn ACL and MCL and a nasty gash on the back of his calf in the incident.
“I shook around for a bit trying to free myself, trying to get an arm free to start digging and trying to kick a leg free, but it was futile. I couldn’t feel the air against my body anywhere, so I was pretty sure I was fully buried,” he said. “I decided to stop trying to fight to get free pretty quickly. I didn’t want to waste air or energy. I remember hoping that Joe somehow didn’t get buried and that he would come dig me out.” – Alex White, avalanche survivor/Denver Post
Check out this incredible story of survival in a very well researched article by the Denver Post:
Colorado skier felt life fading during 3 hours buried in avalanche – The Denver Post