While CDOT hates when skier-triggered slides end up on the highway, transportation officials are overjoyed that one skier is still alive after being swept off a cliff and buried under roughly four feet of snow on Hwy 550 reports The Denver Channel.
The avalanche in question occurred on Monday afternoon just south of Silverton near Coal Bank Pass. The skier involved in the slide and his partner were looking for an exit point when one of the skiers triggered an avalanche and was carried over a 25-foot cliff. The slide would ultimately reach the highway.
Airing off a 15-foot cliff, his partner was quick to begin a companion rescue. Just as the partner got to work searching for his buried friend, avalanche expert Mike Barney arrived on the scene while traveling from Durango to Silverton. Barney, who works as a heli-ski guide in Alaska, helped the partner along with one other bystander, all of whom uncovered the buried victim. The buried skier was breathing through an “AvaLung“ before being extracted from the avalanche debris. The skier in question left the scene uninjured
Find the entire Denver Channel article here: Backcountry skier rescued after becoming trapped under avalanche on US 550 in San Juan County