This is what you'll see if you trigger, then get swept away in an avalanche

Avalanche on sunny day
(Image credit: Getty)

A New Hampshire man skiing on Mount Washington last weekend was left with broken bones after both triggering, then getting swept away by an avalanche, and the entire event was caught on not one, but two cameras. The resulting footage not only reveals how the avalanche was triggered, but what the terrifying experience was like from the skier’s point of view. 

Dominick Torro was skiing down an area of Mount Washington known as “Airplane Gully” on Mount Washington when he triggered a 15-foot-wide “hard slab” avalanche, which he then got caught up in. 

Mount Washington Avalanche Center posted the resulting footage to YouTube – edited together into one clip – noting, “Thanks to the skiers involved in this incident for their honesty, openness, and for letting us share their video for educational and awareness purposes. They are OK and we wish them a quick recovery.” It’s always good to be reminded about avalanche safety.

Torro fell around 500 feet, setting off further, smaller avalanches, before coming to a halt, thankfully unburied but having sustained an open fracture of his tibia and fibula. In its report on the incident, Mount Washington Avalanche Center (MWAC) said the injuries were the result of his binding not releasing in the fall.

Torro was on the slopes with a friend, who filmed the avalanche being triggered. Then he and another solo skier descended the slope to administer some first aid. They were able to control Torro’s serious bleeding and keep him warm. They notified rescue services using an InReach device

Four hours later, a New Hampshire Army National Helicopter arrived and transported Torro to hospital. Mount Washington Avalanche Center notes that the two skiers who provided immediate aid “were crucial” to the successful mountain rescue effort.

Mount Washington Avalanche Center reports that the snowpack that day was “thin, disconnected, and developing – typical for this time of the year. A warming trend likely increased avalanche risk.” It also notes that Torro and his colleague did performed column tests above Airplane Gully before the incident, and after watching another solo skier separate from their party ski the line successfully, they decided it seemed safe. So there’s no hint of recklessness here, just extreme bad luck, and then some very sensible reactions to the situation.