When the Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center reported a “near miss avalanche near Cantwell yesterday,” we spotted this photo of a deployed BCA Float airbag. The avalanche center had posted on Facebook that a snowmachiner had been caught in a large avalanche near the top of the slope. He was thrown off his machine, deployed his avalanche airbag, carried to the bottom of the slope and miraculously ended up on the surface.
We caught up with the rider, and he sent us a little more on the story.
The conditions of the snow were apparently loose. The decision to make the climb was obviously a sketchy one. Although this wasn’t his first line up the hill that day. At first he only went half way up and the climb felt solid. SO he made the decision to go to the top. As he got to the top he started to side hill, when he saw over his sled that a 6 foot wall of snow had cracked and started to slide.
“At this point, I knew it just got real….”