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Washington, United States. Snowboarder in a snow trap. “I thought I’d die alone”

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A snowboarder fell into a snow well in the US state of Washington. He was stuck upside down in a thick layer of snow. Fortunately, a skier noticed him and rushed to help. His webcam documented the dramatic rescue operation.

A snow well is a phenomenon that freezes the blood in the veins of winter sports enthusiasts. It forms under coniferous trees with spreading branches that block the deposition of snow around the trunk. As a result, a hole is created that is easy to fall into when skiing down the slope. Ian Steger found himself in such a situation, who went snowboarding with friends on the slope of Mt. Baker, Washington.

Snowboarder stuck in a snow well

Downhill snowboarders at some point hit the tree-covered part of the slope. Each of them chose his own way through the trees. Everyone made it safely down this stretch of slope, except for Steger, who was not so lucky and fell headfirst into the snow well. He couldn’t reach his radio, and trying to free himself buried him even deeper under the snow.

“I thought I was going to die alone in a place I’d skied hundreds of times,” he said. But help came unexpectedly quickly.

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A skier, Francis Zuber, was going down the slope when he noticed a fragment of a board covered with snow. He reacted immediately and wisely: he dug out Steger’s face as quickly as possible to allow him to breathe freely, then took a folding shovel from his pack and used it to blow the snow around the snowboarder. The rescue operation was captured by a sports camera, which the skier recorded his descent.

– He was completely buried in the snow. I had to dig almost two meters down to free him. It was more exhausting than I thought,” admitted Zuber.

The skier saved the snowboarderReuters/Francis Zuber via TMX

Security procedures

Thanks to the quick rescue operation and a bit of luck, the snowboarder was not seriously injured. The director of the ski resort in Mt. Baker admitted it was a perfect example of how you should react to seeing someone trapped in the snow. Zuber also emphasized the importance of training to deal with such situations.

– It’s a basic rule: if you see a glove, goggles or skis, never assume it’s a lost piece of clothing or gear. Act as if someone still wears it, Steger appealed.

Reuters, KOMO News, TVN24

Main photo source: Reuters/Francis Zuber via TMX

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