A Colorado snowmobiler is lucky to be alive after being buried by an avalanche on Thursday. Officials are commending her quick-thinking friends for her survival.
According a report by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the woman was part of a group recreating on a northeast-facing slope in Leroux Creek on Grand Mesa and fell into difficulties due to poor light conditions.
"The group discussed the high avalanche danger and decided to avoid avalanche terrain but visibility was very poor due to flat light while they were out and the individual drifted onto a slope steeper than they thought without knowing," states the report.
After triggering the avalanche, the snowmobiler was completely buried by the snow but her companions managed what the CAIC describes as a "very impressive" rescue to save her, which they believe is in large part down to two of the team having completed avalanche training.
When they dug her out, they found the woman unconscious, but one member of the group who also has wilderness EMT training cleared her airways and she regained consciousness.
"This was a very close call with a good outcome largely thanks to the heroic avalanche rescue."
The woman's friends reportedly wrapped her in a bivy sack and then lit a fire in nearby woods to warm her up.
Colorado has seen abundant snowfall in recent weeks causing the CAIC to announce recently that every mountain range in the state was under high avalanche risk. The state saw its first avalanche fatality of the season on January 25.
If the weather has been unstable, with lots of snow and wild temperature swings, you should assume that the avalanche risk is higher. High winds can also create avalanche conditions.
If you are heading out into the backcountry on a slope that is 30 degrees or steeper, you are always at risk for an avalanche. The biggest step you can take to keep yourself safe is to take an avalanche safety class where you will learn how to recognize unstable snow, techniques for navigating out of an avalanche once you’re in it and knowing how to use an avalanche beacon and shovel. Read more in our article on avalanche safety.
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.