Video of a skier in Tahoe, California getting caught and rescued from an Avalanche.



Another Skier Buried In An Avalanche In Tahoe | Video of Avalanche & Rescue

Information provided by

A party of 5 skiers was descending Echo Peak one at a time. One skier with terrain familiarity chose to descend a steeper area above a small cliff and abrupt slope angle transition which represented a terrain trap. Upon reaching a convex portion of the slope where slope angle increased to 44 to 47 degrees, the avalanche was initiated. The wind slab failed on a 1.5 inch thick layer of lower density storm snow with a small amount of graupel present within the layer. Slab thickness ranged from around 6 inches near the trigger point to near 18 inches at the skier’s right edge of the crown near the ridgeline. The skier was carried over the small cliff and buried in the terrain trap below. The skier was able to put a hand up above the snow surface and then brush snow away from his airway which was under the snow surface. Otherwise, the buried individual was unable to move. The other members of the group organized their rescue, keeping two members in a safe area on the ridge and sending two other members one at a time down to the buried individual. The buried individual was found via the visual clue of a waiving hand just above the snow surface. A transceiver search was not needed.

Video 1: Footage of the skier triggering the avalanche and companion rescue. The exchange of transceiver and backpack shown in the video was due to the presence of two transceivers, two shovels, and two probes carried in total within the group of five. One of those transceivers and one set of rescue gear was with the buried individual. A lack of familiarity with the packed rescue equipment lead to use of the shovel blade without the handle.

Skier triggered avalanche on Echo Peak

Location Name: Echo Peak
Region: Echo Summit Area

See map: Google Maps

Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown):

Sat, 12/29/2012 – 1:10pm

Red Flags: Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain


  • DavidT

    Thanks for you honest and open reply Emmett, good to hear you are OK ad by the sounds of it have learned loads from the incident.

  • CrowleyCrawler

    The guy’s alive. Yeah, sure, they coulda done better, but who can really rehearse this stuff? Yeah, it was painful to watch, but wtf–the guy’s alive, thanks to his friends. Not everybody works on the ski patrol and practices 2X a week. They were enjoying the backcountry, had an incident, and lived to tell about it. Good for them. A little too much self-righteous indignation in this crowd. Not the kind of people I enjoy meeting in the mountains. Put on the Sound of Music and chill, please.

    • sweetpt

      CrowleyCrawler if you are going into the backcountry, I hope you are practicing the use of your rescue equipment. 2X a week is a start. The reality is ski patrol, nor SAR is not going to save you or your buddies in an avalanche rescue situation. YOU ARE! By the time ski patrol or SAR reaches a reported avalanche, it is not a rescue. It is a body recovery.

  • ControlledRage

    With the ski gear available thesedays, out of bounds is becoming an attractive nuisance. The gods were smiling on these folks. If they dare to venture out beyond the controlled slopes again I believe they will be ready.

  • Chris B.

    I am not a skier but I am a walking, talking, thinking human being. To leave that poor guy laying there, out of your sight for the 3 minutes it took you to get to him…which was all of 20 seconds from where you were standing is outrageous. His luck was he was not injured and that he could poke his arm up through the snow and uncover his face. Three minutes is precious time in such a situation…it might have been the difference between life and death. How is it possible that neither of the other two helped in this effort to clear the snow from his body? Why were they simply watching you freeze your hands off and why were you not equipped to go on such a trek? Taking rookies into the backcountry is not only stupid it’s reckless! I can’t even watch this again…it’s made me sick to my stomach for some reason.

  • Mike

    What is the deal with not having his own gear. Not checking for hangfire. Not being able to do anything right. Wow

  • DCF

    I want to join in with those that are applauding Emmet for posting. It’s easy to be a back seat expert, but things fall apart quickly in the real world. I’m saddened by the number of a$$holes posting such nasty comments. We all need to learn from each other.

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  • Jordan

    Fucking retards! He could have died in the amount of time it took that guy to get mobilized. These people should be ashamed.

    …analogy: Guy is on fire – Let’s just wait around and do a bunch of unnecessary bullshit for more than two full minutes before we try to put him out. Retards.

  • S-curvy

    @DCF, good comment. It leaves me guessing that all the flamers are armchair quarterbacking this because they lack the experience of having made consequential mistakes themselves, and then kinda foolishly assuming that just because they haven’t made these kind of mistakes, that means they are somehow better than these guys (in training and equipment they may well be). Or that without any real test of their own skills, they would somehow have not made similar mistakes. I suspect that anyone who has been through something like this experience would not be so quick to judge.

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