While the dangers of avalanches in backcountry skiing are well documented, skiers and snowboarders can tend to overlook the very real threat of inbound snowslides, particularly after heavy snow.
But a recently uploaded video showing the skier’s point of view as he gets caught in an inbound avalanche he triggered showcases just how dangerous skiing chutes can be, regardless of whether or not you’re inbounds.
Skier Tyler Karow, a senior civil engineering major at the University of Southern California, was skiing Mammoth Mountain on Jan. 8, when he decided to drop into a chute called Philippe’s located off the summit of the mountain.
“Standing above the cornice on Philippe’s, (at the far side of Paranoids inbounds at Mammoth Mountain) my plan was to ski down to the low part of the ridge, air into the chute perpendicular to the cornice and make two turns before riding through a three-foot choke,” Karow wrote in the YouTube description of his video.
“At the start of my line, I could feel some instability and mistakenly dropped in parallel to the cornice. At that moment, the snow slid and I was immediately swept downhill. After a couple tumbles, I was able to stabilize myself on top and luckily went thought the choke point unharmed,” he continued.
“Swimming to keep myself on top of the slide, I found myself stopped and only partially buried at a safe point about 300 feet down from the top of the chute. I was incredibly lucky to be unharmed and able to ride out the rest of my line!”
While “lucky” might be a bit of an understatement, Karow, the president of the USC Ski & Snowboard Team, seemingly took it all in stride as evidenced by his first concern following the snowslide.
“Is my lens clear?” Karow wondered while scratching at his GoPro lens.
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