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MISTAKES WERE MADE!! Lucky to be alive. So many lessons to learn.
A small pocket of snow released in the wrong place and I went for an almost 1000-vertical-foot ride. Typically I think of steep spines as safe from slab avalanche, due to the pitch constantly sluffing the snow relieving the energy from the slope. In this case, it was a relatively small pocket. Six inches deep and only twenty feet wide. I tried to get a little more speed to gain the next spine over but the runnel wall was too steep and stopped me in my tracks. The slide caught me. I tried to self-arrest, and three times thought I may have slowed enough for the snow to pass by. Finally, I gave in. There was nothing I could do. I was being beaten back and forth against the runnel walls so violently I couldn’t get to my airbag handle until I shot out onto the apron.
This experience was life-changing. I questioned why I do what I do. When things turn south this quickly it really puts the danger I face regularly on my board into perspective. There were so many things I could have done differently. As spring approaches and the steep lines come into focus here in Alaska it’s good to remember. I am not invincible. Things can and will go wrong. Choose your battles. Every line has its day. Is today that day?