Watch as avalanche strips a French mountain bare

Avalanche strips bare a mountain in the Aravis range, France
(Image credit: Jeremy Pancras / Instagram)

Ever seen a mountain change color near instantaneously? You’re just about to thanks to French freeskier and film director Jeremy Pancras, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time last week.

That place, by the way, is the La Balme sector in the Aravis, eastern France (not far from Mont Blanc) which some of you may know as a skiing are. Rest assured, though, this this event too place on slopes away from the ski area, just in case you might think that the admittedly over-the-top vocal reaction from somebody in the clip is insensitive about the dangers of avalanches.

What makes this avalanche vid worth watching amongst an ocean of similar avalanche videos on social media is not just that it’s long and impressive, which it is (and almost hypnotic towards the end as you realise you are truly witnessing the awesome destructive force of nature). It’s the way the avalanche strips the mountain bare. 

One minute it’s white, the next it’s naked and brown.

And you know it has to be a notable event when someone like Jeremy Pancras – who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics and also made the acclaimed hour-long, Freeski culture documentary Keep It Real (you can watch it on YouTube in its entirety) – is impressed.

He and his friends just happened to be standing on the viewing walkway when the avalanche took place.

This is not a rare event, of course, it’s just unusual for it to be caught on camera. You can find way more videos online of avalanches turning the lower, green slopes on a mountain white, rather then the other way round.