Helmet cam captures man’s screams as friends dig him out from avalanche

Posted at 8:54 AM, Feb 21, 2019

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah - Terrifying moments were caught on camera after an avalanche buried a backcountry skier near Guardsman Pass over the weekend.

The group had gone off a jump in the canyon last week and earlier that day. But when one of the skiers fell when he went off it again, it triggered the slide.

The skier who was caught in the slide doesn't want to be identified, but the two friends he was with are sharing their story.

“I'll remember that moment when the day switched,” friend Colby Stevenson told KSTU. “All the sudden I see this avalanche and I’m like, 'oh, slide!'”

Stevenson watched helplessly at the bottom of the avalanche as tons of snow carried his friend down the mountain.

“He let go of his poles and he was swimming through the avalanche to keep his head up,” Stevenson said.

The avalanche carried the skier 200 feet through trees and rocks until finally burying him completely.

“Right as the slide comes to a stop, I’m skiing over there, full panic, adrenaline through the roof, just wanting to save my friend,” Stevenson said.

His friend was trapped under the cement-like snow. Seconds later John Brown, who was watching from the top, made it down.

“It was scary. I didn't know how to think straight really,” Brown said.

Both skiers were looking for any sign of their friend. Finally, they spotted the tip of a ski.

“When I hit his leg for the first time he started screaming,” Stevenson said. “It was very frantic we were just going to dig until his head was free and he could breathe.”

Brown was digging with all his might and hit his friend's helmet with his shovel.

“We dug his head out and I’m like, 'I’m sorry I hit you in the head,' and he's like, 'that was the best feeling in my life is just getting hit in the head with a shovel,'” Brown said.

A lucky ending to what could have been a deadly slide.

“The end of that day we were just like, 'wow, life could end that quickly,'” Stevenson said.